Symmetry wrote: BigBallinStalin wrote: PLAYER57832 wrote:
Symmetry wrote:What is your enlightened understanding of rape?
Probably a good deal more than yours, given that I happen to have worked with victims, am female myself, etc. Rape is far less about "the act" than it is about sumission and control.
IN YO FACE!!!
Not really, if submission and control are key, wouldn't slavery fit those terms?
Not necessarily. Many supposedly "free" women were truly brutalized in a fully legal way, legal because it was in "marriage" or, worse, the "cure" was for the guy to marry the woman he raped. And, to muddy the waters yet further, many women would actually accept that result, even if they definitely did not "ask" for the intercourse. They would accept marriage, or in some cases a monetary pay off (a wealthy person and no wealthy woman/girl primarily) and (if they were really lucky) "safe" marriage to another, because the consequences of not being married, of having the rape known were so horrible.
Marriage was simply not an option to Sally. The only option she has was to perhaps be "paired" to a black man, perhaps whom she cared about OR to "get" a white man. Of the white men "available", Jefferson would, based on evidence, have been among the better choices. And, based on the evidence, the idea that she might have chosen this in lieu of the alternatives available to HER in HER time, even compared with what freedom was available to blacks in that day, does not seem far fetched.
I mean, I am saying she might well have chosen to be the paramour and companion to a prominent and well respected man who treated her and here children decently, got them educated and eventually led to them being set up as independent whites, instead of being the wife of an almost certainly poor black man, enduring hard labor and constant risk. I don't think the idea of traveling to Paris and wearing fancy dresses instead of the simple smocks most even free blacks wore is such an obviously horrible choice that she would never have chosen it herself.
DID she, ultimately have a "choice". Ultimately, no one today can really know. But, there is a good chance that she felt very fortunate, not abused and not taken advantage of. The question is not if what happened would be considered rape today, or even necessarily if Jefferson would have considered it rape (I don't think even you dispute that he would not have thought so). The question is whether Sally would have considered it in those terms or anything even close... or if she, in stead, would have considered the relationship to be among the most fortunate of circumstances. Reports that do exists tend to suggest the latter, that she not only considered herself fortunate, but quite likely actually cared for Jefferson.
No one really knows for sure, but I find it unlikely that what happened was rape. At the very least, I would not assume it is rape simply because Sally was a slave. Slavery was horrible at times, but not always. It is perhaps harder to look at the "nicer" aspects of slavery objectively because we intuitively have such a gut opposition to the idea. However, the trouble with that is that by ignoring the "good", no matter how fleeting or exceptional (Sally was absolutely an exception!). we cannot truly understand. Not fully understanding means we are likely to make mistakes.
One thing I would say, in that context... I already talked about modern workplaces and decisions men (and now women, of course) make. There is another parallel. When you get abuse in business sometimes its a jerk who just likes being a jerk, but more often it is that those in power are passing down rules, making decisions and not really paying attention to how the rules are implemented. It may be a TV star who discovers that children are making her T-shirts, a tech exec who finds that workers are not being paid reasonable wages and are being effectively locked in their factories, etc... OR, it might be that a guy is under pressure to get a grain silo cleared and sends a couple of teenagers in to clear out the packed corn without safety gear, just ignoring the rules that say they have to have harnesses, be older, etc.
Its much easier to think that any and all slave owners were just nasty people who did nasty things than it is to recognize that they were human beings with complex feelings and emotions, mostly trying to do good, just as much as people today. Like today, many failed to question things. We, today, automatically question the right of slavery, automatically understand it to be bad. But, I wonder if there are not issues today that we don't question that our great grandchildren or great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will find wrong just as we consider slavery wrong today.