Sexual Abuse of Slave Women

Powerful Essays
A slave woman's body was not of her own, but for property, for control, and for pleasure of the one who owned her. In Gayl Jones's Corregidora, Four generations endure the brutal and harshness of sexual and emotional abuse from slavery to marriage. This trickling factor of abuse must be continuously retold and soon manages to uncover a secret that has been kept silence from the very beginning. Gayl Jones illustrates that future generations of men and women are affected by the sexual exploitations that women in slavery experienced.

Ursa Corregidora, the great-granddaughter of a Portuguese slave owner, is a beautiful mulatto women from Kentucky who sings the blues at Happy's Cafe. Due to a violent fall caused from the act of jealous rage by her husband Mutt Thomas, she loses her unborn child and also her womb, the very evidence for her to make generations requested by her foremothers. The ancestors did not have documentation to show their existence saying "that's why they burned all the papers, so there would be no evidence to hold up against them"(14) and therefore giving birth was their only means. Retelling the events keeps the truth within the minds and cannot be taken away as the papers were. After Ursa's accident she realizes how empty she feels without her womb, that the obligation of continuing the tradition is now broken and gone. Ursa's womb is similar to those of the burned papers, but she has her blues, the oral traditional way to tell the stories as well as her own story.

The possession of a woman is a great feat for a man. Jones portrays that the women of slavery were seen as a factor of a sexual object. Great Gram recalls of being "sacrificed. They knew you only by the signs of your sex. They touch you as...

... middle of paper ... to her and her fore mothers in the past and she realizes that although she can't forget the stories or the memories that were imprinted in her mind, she can still move on and not let it continue to hurt her.

Jones succeeds in illustrating the sexual exploitation that the women of slavery experienced can indeed affect the future generations that follow in her novel Corregidora. By the use of harsh language and imagery of sexual and violent abuse that each generation endured, she pinpoints on how a black woman takes in everything from the past and projects into her life as well. Even in today's society, black women are still treated as just something sexual even if not intentionally, what women experience today will continue to be past on and told until the life of hers ends, but still will be carried forward from those that have kept her stories in their minds.
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