Chan E Bodhaig Bhoireann ‘s Mì-Chothrom Chomais a Tha Aonta
Gineamh Eilèan Spartach ás an éiginn
Nair a dh’éignich Séus, ‘na chruth eala,
A máthair Léada, ‘na Bainrìgh fhéin Spartach,
‘Gineamh Eilèin, Cliotaimneastra, ‘s dith’s mhac.
Cha robh Eilèan Spartach ach deich bliana dh’aois
Nair ghoid an rìgh Téiseos i air falbh,
Banntrach aig aois leth-cheud bliana ‘goid
Nighneig’ ‘dh’iarr esan ‘phòsamh ‘s mhealtainn.
‘Réir ri Òibhid, bha Meadùsa mhaiseach,
‘S tharraing fearg ‘s farmad air Aiteuna;
Nair a thug Poiseudon fhéin a h-éiginn
‘San dìon-àit’ Aiteuna, mhallaich i is’.
Dhiùlt Cassandra ‘n aire dhrùiseach gun fhàilt’
De Apollo; gu gamhlasach, choir e
Mallachd air a thiodhlac-fàisneachaimh dhi;
Och, cha chreideamh neach a rabhamh, h-éiginn!
‘San dìon-àit’ Aiteuna fhéin, thug Aidheas
Éiginn air Cassandra ‘s slaod e is’ on
Teampall, is ghabh Agaimeamnon gràineil
Ise mar tràill-fheis’ mus mhort a bhean ead
Innsimh ‘m Bìoball gum feum fear a pòsamh
‘n Ainnir ‘thug e ‘h-éiginn mur eil ise
Réitichte, air chumha gum pàigh e a
h-Athair airson a h-òigheachd, ge b’oil leath’ e.
‘Feuchainn ‘dhìon dith’s aingeal mar neach-aoigheachd
Math, bhrath Lot ‘dhith’s nighean òigheil ris na
Sòdomaich seo nàimhdeach; an déidh ‘n sgrios a’
Bhaile, rinn Lot col le a dhith’s nighean.
Chleachd Maois creideamh fhìreannachamh ‘sgrios nam
Midianach ach choir e an t-òrdugh
Ghabhail uile nighean òigheil ‘chleachdamh
Mar a dh’iarr ead. ‘S carson dh’àithn e seo?
Dh’innis fàisneachamh na maise Dheirdre
‘S roghnaich Conchobhar a’ cor na nighneig’
Air leth gus an ruigeamh i a cóigeamh
Bliana deug ‘s phòsamh esan ise.
Tionndamh Sadhbh gu maoisleach leis am Fhear Dhoirch’
An déidh dhiùlt i ‘shàrachamh a’ chleamhnais;
Saor on gheas an déidh trí blian’, àlainn
‘S òg, ghabh Fionn Mac Cumhaill gaol oirr’, ga pòsamh.
Innsibh dhomhsa nach robh Aïsha ‘na naoi
Bliana nair ghabh Muhammed h-òigheachd!
Nach bheil seo ach samhla do gràdh gheanmhaidh
‘S geanmnachd, gur ainnir ‘cheana ‘bh’innte.
Pòsamh Màiread Beaufort, ‘na máthair ‘n rìghre
Eanraig a Seachd, ‘na dà bliana deug
Ri a dara céil’; cha robh is fhath’st ‘na
Ceithir bliana deug nair rug is’ a mac.
Beag ‘s caol fiù ‘s ‘na h-inbheachd, cha d’ ghin Màiread
Gu bràth tuillidh; choir i air ball ‘n aghaidh a’
Phòsaimh bìodaig Màiread aois naoi blian’
Ris an rìgh na h-Alba. Thuig is’ ro mhath.
Thòisich ‘s dh’fhìrinnich Colombo ‘n malairt
Tràilleachd a’ Chuain Siar, air thùs leis na
Mnathan ‘s nigheanan Aimeireagach, gan
Ceannach ‘steach don cràdh na tràilleachd-fheise.
Bha Caitrìona Howard aois trì bliana deug
Nair dh’fheuch a fear-foghlaim chiùil ga truailleamh,
‘Beantainn ri buill uaigneach shoineanta mus
Ghabh Frang Dereham bragail bras a h-òigheachd.
‘Na seachd blian’ deug, dà trian a mheud
‘S aoise, pòsamh i do rìgh fhéin-chùiseach,
Ghamhlasach ‘thug binn-bhàis oirre ‘na naoi
Blian’ deug nair lorg e nach d’ phòs e òigh.
Beubanaicheamh a’ Bhainiarla Báthory
Air leth geur ‘na nighean òg ‘s ‘na h-òg-bhean;
Och, bh’a beatha fo’n spàirn sheasmhaich chogaimh
Chreideimh, chomainn, sluagh-iùil, ionmhais, ‘s na gnè.
Fo spàirn sheasmhaich, fuasglaimh a’ Bhainiarla
Fearg air na nigheanan-tuath ‘bha ‘na
Banoglaich, ‘nan deich ri ceithir blian’
Deug, ‘nan ìobairtich glé fhurast’ rithe.
Ghlac na Sasannaich siud Pocahontas
‘Na h-ochd bliana deug an déidh mhort ead
Céile ‘s ga goid ás a nighneag; ghlac na
Sasannaich i, ‘n oidhirp ga dèanadh crìosdail.
Dh’innis Casanova gun do thruaill e
Nighean ‘na trì bliana deug, cheannaich
E mar tràill-fheis’ nighean Rùiseach ‘na dà
Blian’ deug nach d’ ráinig inbhidheachd.
Is thruaill Casanova ‘n nighean ‘na naoi
Bliana shin-leannain, ‘s bh’ e ‘na leth-cheud
Blian’; shealg e gu mór na mnathan
So-leònt’ ‘s muinighineach, uil ‘na fhuath-bhan.
Sgrìobh am Marcas fhéin de Sade air fòirneart
Dhrabast’ ‘s air a’ chreòtachd nan neo-chiontach
Sin so-leònt’ airson an ana-mhiann
Oillteil borb sin nam beairteach ‘s neartmhor.
Leis an gheimhleachamh nan Afragach fo
Bruid, ghabh maighstirean brath air bean ‘s nighneag
Mar-aon; cha d’rinn inbhidheachd mùthamh
Ris na daoidhean sgàinimh pataich shoineant’.
Sarah Hemings ‘bha ‘na leth-phiuthar Mharta
Jefferson tro ‘n athair ‘s glùn na b’ òige,
Bh’ a máthair, Ealasaid, ‘na nighean chaiptein
Shasannaich ‘s Susannah, ‘na tràill Hausach.
Fichead bliana ‘s a cóig na b’ òig’ na
Marta ‘gas bha Sarah coltach ri piuthar;
Och, dh’fhàs Sarah thorrach moch tron bhanntrach
Mharta ‘na sè blian’ deug, fhath’st na tràill.
Leis a’ bhriseamh dualchais is an teaghlaich,
Dh’fheumamh fir nam baile Aimearagach
Tùsanach a fàgail on taigh ‘chosnamh
Airgid, ‘fàgail mnathan ‘s pataich so-leònt’;
Gun fhir fhoghantach gan dìon, is urrainn
Ionnsaighich gheal’ ‘thoirt an ionnsaigh drabast’
Air na mnathan ‘s nigheanan nam baile,
Brisimh fir-fuathais drabast’ ìobairtich ‘rith’st.
Fhuair Squaw Valley ainm oir theich mnathan
‘S nigheanan ann ‘nan geilt éiginn leis na
h-Ionnsaighich seo Eòrpach. ‘S tric th’ead sparrta
‘Steach don strìopachas a mhaireann, tàmailt…!
Chithear mnathan Tùsanach is gorma
Mar-aon ghrànnda ‘gas gun mhiann no ‘nan
Déideagan nan drùiseach nair th’ead ro thric
Fhath’st ‘nan ìobairtich an fhòirneirt dhrabast’!
Bha sgreamh fìor aig Scarlett chrosd’ Ní hEaghra
Air a céil’ air mhisg, ach ghiùlain e i
‘N aghaidh a toil’ don leabaidh; dùisgeamh móran
Mhnathan an déidh sin a’ crith ‘s a’ caoineamh .
Och, thug coimhearsnach Louise Brooks ionnsaigh
Dhrabast’ oirre ‘na naoi bliana deug;
Blianaichean an déidh sin, thuirt a máthair
‘S dòcha gun robh is’, Louise fhéin, choireach.
Thug dà oid’ aig Marilyn Monroe a
h-Éiginn nair bha is’ ‘na nighneag; cha do
Chreid neach i ‘s gheibh ise peanas; bha gràin
Aic’ air feis ‘s bu thearc reachd-feise oirre.
Bha Lolita ‘na dà bliana deug
Nair ghabh Humbert Humbert brath draost’ oirre;
Cha do phòs e ‘máthair ach a ruigheachd nighean
Shoineanta, ‘na mhèirleach ‘s bhreugair’ air mhisg.
‘Feuchainn ‘dhìon a nighean ás an éiginn ‘s
Sàrachamh a’ chleamhnais, iarnaigimh máthair
Chaimèaruin na cìochan ùra h-ighne
Mus saoil gille ‘s fear gur i dheas ‘dhàramh.
Pòstamh mnathan aig an tòiseachamh na
Fala-mìos, na h-inbhidheachd, fiù ‘s mus
Ruigimh eadsan inbhidheachd; th’eadsan
Aig aois pòsaimh, ach an iarr ead seo?
Age of Consent Does Not Equal Consent
Helen of Sparta was conceived from rape
When Zeus, in the form of a swan, raped
Her mother Leda, the Queen of Sparta herself,
Conceiving Helen, Clytemnestra, and twin sons.
Helen of Sparta was only a girl ten years of age
When king Theseus kidnapped her,
A widower fifty years of age who stole
A girl who he wanted to marry and enjoy.
According to Ovid, Medusa was beautiful
And attracted anger and jealousy from Athena;
When Poseidon himself raped her
In Athena’s temple, she cursed her
Cassandra refused the unwelcome lecherous attention
From Apollo; spitefully, he cursed
His gift of prophesy to her;
Alas, nobody would believe her desperate warning!
In the sanctuary of Athena herself, Ajax
Violated Cassandra and he dragged her from
The temple, and vile Agamemnon took her
As his sex-slave before his wife murdered them.
The Bible says that a man must marry
The maiden that he raped if she is not
Betrothed, provided that he pays her
Father for her maidenhood, though she loathes him.
Trying to protect two angels like a good host,
Lot betrayed his two maiden daughters to those
Hostile men of Sodom; after the ruin of the
Town, Lot committed incest with his daughters.
Moses used religion to justify destroying the
Midianites but he sent the order
To take all virgin daughters to use
As they wanted. And why did he command this?
A prophesy spoke of the beauty of Deirdre
And Conchobhar chose to sequester
The girl-child until she would reach her
Fifteenth year and he would marry her
Sabh was turned into a doe by the Dark Man
After she refused his sexual harassment;
Free from the spell after three years, beautiful and young,
Fionn Mac Cumhaill fell in love with her and married her.
Tell me that Aïsha was not a girl of nine
Years when Muhammed took her maidenhood!
That this is only an allegory to pure love
And chastity, that she was already a young woman.
Margaret Beaufort, the mother of king Henry VII,
Was married to her second husband at twelve years
Of age; she was not yet fourteen
Years of age when she bore her son.
Small and thin even as an adult, Margaret
Never conceived again; she immediately opposed
The marriage of her nine-year-old little granddaughter,
Margaret, to the king of Scotland. She understood too well.
Columbus began and justified the slave trade
Of the Atlantic Ocean, at first with the
Mothers and daughters of the Americas, selling
Them into the torment of sexual slavery.
Katherine Howard was a girl of thirteen years
When her music teacher tried to seduce her,
Handling innocent private parts before
Boastfully impetuous Francis Dereham took her maidenhood.
Seventeen years of age, two thirds of his size and age,
She was married to a self-absorbed, vindictive
King who sentenced her to death in her nineteenth
Year when he found he did not marry a virgin.
The brilliant Countess Erzsébet Báthory
Was brutalized as a girl and young wife;
Alas, her life was under the constant strain of a
Religious, social, political, economic, and sexual war.
Under constant strain, the Countess released
Her rage on the peasants’ daughters who were her
Maidservants, between ten and fourteen years
Of age, very easy victims to her.
The English captured Pocahontas
At eighteen years of age after they murdered
Her husband and took her from her little daughter; the English
Captured her in an effort to make her Christian.
Casanova said that he debauched
A girl of thirteen years, he bought
As a sex slave a Russian girl of
Twelve years who’d not reached puberty.
And Casanova debauched the nine-year-old
Daughter of a former lover, and he was fifty
Year of age; he hunted mainly vulnerable
And insecure women, all in his misogyny.
The Marquis de Sade himself wrote about smutty
Violence and on the torture of the innocent
And vulnerable for that horrifically cruel
Lust of the wealthy and powerful.
With the enslavement of captive Africans,
Masters took advantage on woman and girl-child
Alike; puberty did not make a difference
To the reprobates who shatter the innocence of children.
Sarah Hemings who was the half-sister of Martha
Jefferson through their father and a generation younger,
Her mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of an English
Sea-captain and Susannah, a Hausa slave-woman.
Twenty and five years younger than
Martha and Sarah resembled her sister;
Alas, Sarah become pregnant by Martha’s
Widower at sixteen years of age, still a slave.
With the disruption of culture and family,
The men of American Indigenous
Villages had to leave home to earn
Money, leaving wives and children vulnerable;
Without able-bodied men to protect them, white
Invaders could commit smutty attacks
On the women and girls of the villages,
Sexual terrorists violate victims again.
Squaw Valley got its name because women
And girls fled there in their terror of rape by these
European invaders. Often they are pushed
Into prostitution to survive, an insult…!
Black and Indigenous women are seen
Simultaneously as ugly and asexual or as
Toys of lechers when they are too often
Still victims of sexual violence!
A testy Scarlett O’Hara was disgusted by her
Drunken husband, but he carried her
Against her will to bed; many women
Would awaken shaking and crying after that.
Alas, a neighbor of Louise Brooks sexually
Attacked her as a girl of nine years;
Years after that, her mother said
That she, Louise herself, was probably at fault.
Two foster-fathers raped Marilyn Monroe
When she was just a girl-child; nobody
Believed her and she was punished; she
Hated sex and orgasm was rare for her.
Lolita was a girl of twelve years
When Humbert Humbert took lewd advantage of her;
He only married her mother to reach her naïve
Daughter, the drunken liar and thief.
Trying to protect her daughter from rape and
Sexual harassment, a mother of Cameroon
Irons her daughter’s budding breasts
Before boys and men will think she’s ready to rut.
Women would be married at the beginning of
Their monthly courses, of puberty, even before
They reach puberty; they are
Of marriageable age, but do they want this?
In light of the #metoo movement, I had to write something arguing the case of at least some famous women (and many more anonymous women) who have been victims of harassment and assault.
For most of recorded history, marriageable age has been:
12 for women, 14 for men in much of Asia, Africa, and Europe (the Roman Catholic Church, building off of Greek and Roman law, set these as the minimum ages for marriage, and Greek Orthodox Catholics did little until recently to prevent marriages of brides aged 12-15 years, often to much older men);
15 for women, 18 for men among the Gaels of Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man;
12 for women, 15 for men among Orthodox Catholic Slavs;
In much of the world, there really have not been minimum ages, especially not for women, who generally seem to be married off between 12 and 15 years of age in indigenous societies, coinciding with puberty, if not menarche; for some societies, puberty does not seem to be a requirement and children are married off by their families.
The average age that women reached menarche seemed to be about 14 years (12 years for daughters of wealthy families) from Antiquity through the 1700s.
The point is this: sure, even when they might technically be of age, that does not mean that they truly want it. Too many girls have been married unwillingly, even though they are technically “of age”. Just as the age of consent does not equal actual consent, a female body and power imbalance in a patriarchal social structure does not equal consent.
Ovid’s version of Medusa’s tale, adapted by me: www.deviantart.com/art/Medusa-…
Helen of Troy was just a girl when King Theseus of Athens, fifty years of age and recently widowed, kidnapped her. Helen was dancing with the other maidens of Sparta by the Eurotas River to celebrate their coming of age; Theseus was prowling through the reeds when he saw her and decided that “life wasn’t worth living unless he could enjoy her”. It fell to Helen’s brothers, the twins Castor and Pollox, to save her.
Helen’s own conception was one of rape; Zeus, in the form of a swan, raped her mother, Queen Leda of Sparta, as she bathed at the Eurotas River. Leda conceived Helen, Clytemnestra, and twins Castor and Pollux.
Helen’s sister Clytemnestra was a beauty like Helen, but she also suffered for it; originally married to King Tantalus of Pisa with a son by him, Agamemnon decided to take her for himself and murdered her husband and baby boy to take Clytemnestra for himself. That he sacrificed their daughter, Iphigenia, to Artemis for save passage of troops to Troy after she refused to let him do that and then killed their daughter and lied about it must have been the last straw for her, especially with a war for which she held her sister responsible.
Princess Cassandra of Troy, for her part in refusing Apollo’s unwelcome advances, was cursed by Apollo when he turned his gift of prophesy to her into a curse; she would still be able to foresee the future, but nobody would ever believe her. She knew exactly what would happen.
After desperately trying to warn her people for years, her prophesy came to pass; Ajax raped her in Athena’s temple and king Agamemnon took her as his sex slave before his estranged wife, Clytemnestra, killed her along with her husband.
Removed from the poetry:
Mary was supposedly about 15 when she gave birth to Jesus (14 when Gabriel spoke to her) is extra creepy by today’s standards, especially since Joseph was about twenty years older than her, old enough to be her father.
If Yahweh really wanted to perform a miracle, he’d have made Joseph give birth, not Mary, who was still just a girl; young women are victimized sexually far too often for adolescent pregnancy to be a miracle.
And in Sodom and Gomorrah, the crime was not homosexuality but selfish greed, lack of compassion toward the unfortunate, and threats of violence to outsiders; the two angels in Lot’s protection were threatened with gang-rape by Sodom’s men out of hostility (these men did not know that these strange men were angels, who are actually sexless according to canon) and Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the mob to rape instead. To protect these strangers, he betrayed his own daughters (who never agreed to this). After the destruction of Sodom, Lot committed incest with his daughters.
And the genocide by the Hebrews against the Midianites…! Because Midianite women apparently seduced Hebrew men away from Yahweh, Moses ordered the Hebrew soldiers to massacre every man, every woman, every child… except for the virgin daughters of the Midianites, with whom he said his soldiers could do as they pleased, and 32 of these plundered, traumatized girls were given to Yahweh (for who knows what).
That the Bible also says that if a man rapes a maiden who is not betrothed, he must marry her provided that he pay her father for her maidenhood.
Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), Countess of Richmond and Derby and the mother of Henry VII (grandmother of Henry VIII), was married off first at age nine, again at age 12 to Edmund Tudor, who was 24. In theory, consummation was supposed to wait until the bride was physically mature enough to handle pregnancy, but Edmund did not wait and she was pregnant at age 13 and 28 January, 1457, she bore her only child, Henry Tudor, four months before her 14th birthday, already widowed a second time. It was miraculous that mother and child survived at all. Even as an adult, Margaret was small and slightly-built and it’s telling that, despite two further marriages, she never conceived again.
When her eldest granddaughter and namesake, Margaret Tudor (1489-1541), was betrothed and promised at age 9 to marry James IV of Scotland, Grandmother Margaret was the first to oppose the marriage; she argued that he wouldn’t wait, that he would hurt her, that he would permanently damage her health. Grandma Margaret, the Queen Mother, won that argument and little Margaret’s marriage to James was delayed, but only until 1503. She was 13 when they married and 14 when they consummated their marriage, much to her grandmother’s disapproval since she was still too young.
Christopher Columbus was the founder of the Atlantic Slave Trade and he thought nothing of selling America’s women and children into slavery, including sexual slavery. He had no qualms about selling girls eight years of age into sexual slavery, forever destroying their innocence.
Granted, 12 years was the age that women became marriageable (14 years for men) in Tudor England, and Katherine Howard (1523-1542), the young fifth wife of Henry XIII, was about 13 when Henry Manox, her music teacher, tried to seduce her; she might have been of age, but did she really want this lewd attention? And even if she was willing, which cannot be discounted, the fact is that he was her teacher and she was his student and he took advantage of her.
Likewise, did Katie really want the attention of Francis Dereham, who successfully bedded her at about 14-15? He was of a much higher position than Manox and he also had his way with many women.
Thomas Culpepper, a favorite of Henry and Katie’s distant maternal cousin, knew Katie’s history since he was also at her grandmother’s house. Culpepper himself, with several friends, had raped a park-keeper’s wife and killed a man who tried to help her; Henry himself pardoned them with the same old excuse, “boys will be boys”. He was a thoroughly ruthless and unpleasant character, despite his physical beauty. He could possibly have been blackmailing Katie.
Katherine Howard’s stepdaughter (her little cousin), Elizabeth I, was also about 13 when her stepfather, Thomas Seymour, partly to further his position and partly out of lust, began trying to seduce her; her formerly loving stepmother, Katherine Parr, blamed young Elizabeth for causing her husband to stray. Elizabeth managed to avoid rape by her predatory stepfather, but it must have shaped her view of marriage and men. She was a girl, he was old enough to be her father.
Countess Erzsébet Báthory (Elizabeth Báthory)(1560-1614) was clearly a cruel mistress to her young maidservants, who were the daughters of the peasants of her estates and generally aged 10 to 14 years, most of whom probably hadn’t even reached menarche. Still, for all the mystery of her life and the sensational myths about her, we know enough about the norms of Europe (including Hungary) of the time to know that men were expected to discipline their wives, even nobility. Women were expected to submit their husbands, regardless of whether they actually wanted to. Erzsébet, married just before her 15th birthday to war hero Count Ferenc Nadasdy (1555-1604), knew first-hand that he was a cruel man and likely had PTSD from the constant war against the Ottoman Empire from an early age.
Erzsébet herself, sent to live at her husband’s family estate Sárvár during their engagement from ages 11 onward to learn how to manage the place, was likely brutalized as a girl and as a young wife. She was used to her independence at home and did not take well to being trained to become the Lady of the estate and, as a child, she was likely abused and humiliated as punishment.
After her husband’s death in 1604, the wealth from his army’s raids dwindled dramatically (the nobility of Eastern Europe were rich in villages, land, and property, but poor in liquid assets) and she was paranoid about money for the rest of her life, especially since widows, especially wealthy widows, were often attacked and defrauded even by their own families in efforts to gain her wealth. That and during her lifetime there was the war against the Ottoman Empire and that Austria (overwhelmingly Catholic) also ruled Hungary (increasingly Protestant) and the Hapsburgs and the Hungarian nobility were often at each other’s throats.
(Craft, Kimberly L. (2009). Infamous Lady: The True Story of Countess Erzsébet Báthory.)
But that does not excuse her cold-blooded cruelty toward these girls for even the tiniest infractions; much of it might have been poetic justice and the Countess’ own frustration, but they were just children. And her alleged crimes include:
-Making girls fast for days on end
-Making girls perform their chores naked in full view of men (sexually humiliating these children may or may not have been intended)
-Biting pieces of flesh from various parts of the body
-Stabbing with pins, scissors, or knives
-Burning with candles and hot pokers (including in the genital area)
-Submerging girls naked in hot water and then in cold water
-Verbal abuse during the above cruelties
It is telling that Countess Báthory’s cruelty toward her servant girls correlates to social functions that she had to attend and were often a strain on her finances and her mental health; the more stressful the event, the more severely she brutalized these girls after the event ended.
Pocahontas (1595-1617, born Matoaka and later known as Amonute before she was married to John Rolfe and became “Rebecca Rolfe”) was kidnapped by the English in 1613 in the middle of the First Anglo-Powhatan War and legend says that they raped her and killed her husband Kocoum, with whom she already had a daughter Ka-Okee. We don’t know what Pocahontas thought about her marriage to John Rolfe.
Casanova (1725-1798) was better at seduction than he was in bed, his condescending attitude toward women was typical of his time, many of his conquests were insecure and/or emotionally exposed women, and worst of all Casanova also engaged in sexual acts with very young partners:
In 1755, when he was thirty, Casanova had sex with thirteen-year-old Hélène in Paris, but stopped short of intercourse: “little Hélène, whom I enjoyed, while leaving her intact.” In 1765, when he was forty, he purchased a twelve-year-old girl in St. Petersburg as a sexual slave. In the memoirs he described the Russian girl as emphatically prepubescent: “Her breasts had still not finished budding. She was in her thirteenth year. She had nowhere the definitive mark of puberty.” (III, 196–7; X, 116–17). In 1774, when he was almost fifty, Casanova encountered in Trieste a former lover, the actress Irene, now accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter. “A few days later she came, with her daughter, who pleased me (qui me plut) and who did not reject my caresses. One fine day, she met with Baron Pittoni, who loved little girls as much as I did (aimant autant que moi les petites filles), and took a liking to Irene’s girl, and asked the mother to do him the same honor some time that she had done to me. I encouraged her to receive the offer, and the baron fell in love. This was lucky for Irene.” (XII, 238).
The history of enslaved Africans in the Americas is well-documented; given the distorted perception of many Europeans of how Africans actually lived, the fact that many non-Muslim Africans were half-naked or even completely naked in daily life by Euro-centric standards was taken to mean that Africans were bestial and more driven by lust (given the hot, humid climate of tropical Africa, wearing modest or heavy clothes would be impractical) and therefore more carnal by nature (never mind that, as slaves, the unfortunate people were often unwillingly naked). Hence the warped view of the sexuality of black people, at least in the United States, while these captive people were thoroughly humiliated by this forced nakedness.
Sarah “Sally” Hemings (1773-1835) was the half-sister of Martha Jefferson (1748-1782), Thomas Jefferson’s wife, and enough people noticed the family resemblance; Sarah was the daughter of Elizabeth “Betty” Hemings (1735-1807), the mulatta daughter of English Captain John Hemings and Susanna Eppes, a woman taken as a slave from what is now Nigeria (and was possibly Hausa). It’s rather chilling, considering that Jefferson took her to his bed, that Sarah looked a lot like his beloved late wife.
Sarah was 16 and pregnant when she returned from Paris with her employer and half-nieces (Martha and Polly) in 1789 while he was 46 and seven years a widower.
Squaw Valley in Placer County, California, is so-named because so many local Indigenous women and girls had to flee their villages and take refuge there;
During the Gold Rush, Californian Indigenous people found their autonomy yanked out from under them and the younger men often had to take jobs on ranches to support their families, and this not only greatly disrupted village and family life but it also left their wives, children, and elders without protection. White men attracted to California (who were usually single and traveling without family) in this racist and sexist age took full advantage of these vulnerable women and children.
My professor who taught me this chapter in history dubbed these rapists “sexual terrorists”, which really is an appropriate synonym for “rapist” since they terrorized vulnerable women and girls in so many villages. Many of these Indigenous women were forced to prostitute themselves to white men to survive, which no doubt just added insult to injury for them. Sexual terrorist is correct!
American Indigenous (including many Latinas) and American African women have been stereotyped as either unattractive and servile asexuals or as hyper-sexual and dangerously seductive sex objects while both groups are still disproportionately victims of sexual violence.
And yes, I am disgusted by the fact that, in “Gone With the Wind”, an angry and drunken Rhett Butler carries an unwilling Scarlett O’Hara upstairs to bed and she wakes up with a song in her heart; most women who suffer marital rape would wake up deeply shaken from a horrible night. And it perpetuates the male perception that “if I push hard enough, she’ll change her mind and say yes”. No, it doesn’t change a woman’s mind, it just makes her more irritated with him and then terrified when he forces himself upon her despite her protest. If you have to use force, it’s rape. Plain and simple.
silent film actress and model Louise Brooks (1906-1985) was a girl of nine years when a neighbor began preying on her sexually; when Brooks at last told her mother of the incident, many years later, her mother suggested that it must have been Louise’s fault for “leading him on”.
Marilyn Monroe could have been one of the mothers of the #metoo movement; she was sexually attacked at least twice as a child, once at age 8, again at age 11, in neither case did her foster parents believe her and they punished her for “slandering” and “lying”, even though she was trembling and crying when she said what happened to her. Every time it happened, she was the one who was removed from the home, not the predator. She soon developed a stammer that earned her the cruel nickname “Mmm Mmm”. She likely was brutalized and bullied sexually as she built her career. It speaks volumes that she herself, a “sex symbol”, hated sex and seldom experienced orgasm.
Her abuser(s) were apparently prize boarders during the Depression years, but even so how could her foster parents think that receiving financial support from a depraved sex predator was more important than protecting a child’s innocence?
Norma Jean/Marilyn later wrote, “This sad, bitter child who grew up too fast, is hardly ever out of my heart. With success all around me, I can still feel her scared eyes looking out of mine. She keeps saying, ‘I never lived, I never loved,’ and often I get confused and think it’s I who am saying it.”
That the man who attacked her when she was 8 years of age even paid her to keep her silence says a lot; Norma Jean refused his money and she later said, “Hollywood is a place where they pay $1000 for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”
And do I even need to explain “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov? Drunken middle-aged professor and unreliable narrator Humbert Humbert is obsessed with Dolores Haze, a girl of 12 years, and marries her mother only so that he can pursue “Lolita” (his nickname for her). Lolita herself naïvely agrees because of his slight resemblance to a teen idol (according to him, anyway).
He’s a drunkard, likely a pathological liar (given his rather dubious excuse of his lost childhood sweetheart, “Annabel Lee”), and clearly a predator.
And breast ironing, also known as breast flattening, is the pounding and massaging of a pubescent girl’s breasts, using hard or heated objects, to try to make them stop developing or disappear. It is typically carried out by the girl’s mother who will say she is trying to protect the girl from sexual harassment and rape, to prevent early pregnancy that would tarnish the family name, or to allow the girl to pursue education rather than be forced into early marriage. It is mostly practiced in parts of Cameroon, where boys and men may think that girls whose breasts have begun to grow are ready for sex.
Part of the problem is that, with fewer early marriages and better nutrition and more girls in schools in Cameroon, breast ironing has increased in Cameroon over the last few decades, especially in the South.
The problem is not that girls have blossomed into womanhood, the problem is how men regard women; just because a girl has reached puberty that does not mean that she wants sex. If indeed she’s “asking for it”, then why can’t men and boys ask?