Sexual Abuse Of Slave Women Essay

1865 words - 7 pages

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 if you were magic. They ate your genitals" (59). Women were something to be desired for and received only for a man's own gain of pleasure. Ursa has a similar kind of relationship with her husband Mutt Thomas of the sexual power that he possesses over her. One such occasion, Ursa recalls "he's take me, because he knew that I wouldn't say, No, Mutt, or even if I had, sometimes I wonder about whether he would have taken me anyway" (156). A woman's answer wanting to have sex or not has no bearing on a man's conscious when he is seeking his own sexual fulfillment. Even at a young age, Ursa is taught of the sexual power that men have over women. When her friend May Alice begins to have a sexual relationship with a boy named Harold, she says "You know a boy won't quit". After you start giving them some, you wouldn't feel right to tell them to stop. I mean you wouldn't eel you had any right to tell them to stop" (139-140). This again shows that a woman's obligation is to satisfy her man regardless of what she may be feeling.
Ursa's blues singing is not only her way of making generations, but a way of her sexuality being shown. Mutt is very jealous of this and doesn't want her to continue singing at Happy's Cafe because he...

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