Time and time again, the horrifying experiences of enslaved Africans working on plantations in the Americas and other parts of the world are told over and over.
During the slave trade, which lasted for well over 400 years, Africans were captured and chained down, forced onto ships and taken into new lands against their will.
Through their harrowing experiences on the ships, many of the enslaved Africans died before reaching their new homes. For the many who survived, it was the beginning of sleepless nights, several hours of work on plantations on empty stomachs and the constant reminder that in their new lives they were nothing but a commodity to their owners.
To inform people about the black experience during the slavery years, much research has been done to help bring to light the accounts. Revelations on how women were used as sex toys, forced to breastfeed white babies as well as experiences of slaves both on ships and in the fields just to mention a few have all been brought to light.
However, it seems that much emphasis is either on the general enslavement or the experiences of women during slavery. Much focus has been drifted away from the experiences of the enslaved men who aside the harsh working hours had horrifying experiences if their own.
To start with, enslaved African men were sexually exploited by their owners as well as slave merchants. After some research, Face2Face Africa, a premier pan African company based in New York found these sexually abusive experiences faced by enslaved African men.
1. Buck Breaking
This form of sexual abuse was very popular in the Carribean and it involved white supremacist and slave owners as well as merchants raping a male slave in front of the public to embarrass him and make him feel less of a man. Buck Breaking became very popular when slave rebellions had increased. Enslaved men were first stripped naked and flogged in front of a crowd after which they were raped by a white man to serve as a warning to other slaves.
On several occasions, enslaved men with families were forced to have sex with each other in front of their family or were raped in front of their sons. Many enslaved men who had gone through the process of buck breaking killed themselves afterwards or run away and never returned. For the white supremacists, buck breaking either on ships or on plantations was a way of utterly embarrassing the men and showing dominance.
2. Breeding Farms
During the rise of the abolitionists who were fighting for the end of slavery, the slave trade drastically reduced. Slave ships weres stopped, slaves were helped to escape and many slaves gained a new form of confidence to rebel, resist or escape. This placed a huge toll on the slave trade and plantation owners did not have enough labour to meet the market demands for their produce. They then came out with breeding farms that exploited the sexuality of men.
At breeding farms, healthy and strong enslaved men were forced to have sex with women to get them pregnant. The white slave masters did not care if these women were the mothers, daughter or relatives of the men and the men were made to have sex with at least 6 women a day to increase the possibility of the number of women who got pregnant.
Breeding farms became a lucrative business especially in South America and created the term ‘mother fucker’ which literally explained a male having sex with his mother. Many enslaved men who were the heads of breeding farms died of sexual exhaustion.
3. Castration and genital mutilation
Enslaved men were castrated or sexually mutilated as a form of punishment. Such punishments were meted out to an enslaved man when he was caught in bed with his master’s wife or daughter or said to be married or having an affair with an enslaved woman who is the sexual interest of a merchant or slave master. These acts were also done to take away any form of pride of an enslaved man. Enslaved men who were often the leaders of a group of slaves on a plantation or a rebel group were castrated and called women to show the white man’s dominance.
4. Entertaining sex
Many white supremacists, wealthy merchants and aristocrats often used enslaved men as a form of sexual entertainment. Enslaved men were often made to line up naked for their sexual organs to be scrutinised, laughed at and discussed. They were also made to dance naked. In extreme cases, an enslaved man was made to forcefully have sex with an enslaved virgin to entertain the white viewers.
Shockingly, the raping of enslaved men was as prevalent as the raping of enslaved women, however, the issue of enslaved men as rape victims has been mainly undiscovered due to the fact that men were generally shy to voice out that they had been raped by male merchants or their owners. Aside from being shy, the issue of enslaved men being raped was not believable because many of the men that raped them were married or had several girlfriends.
There was also no physical evidence to show that they were actually being raped as they did not get pregnant or show physical hurt.
The raping of enslaved men was very common in the southern U.S. and Cuba where it was a huge part of the slave system by the Spanish.
Many enslaved men were raped on ships and at secret sex farms and season plantations for homosexual slave owners which were very popular in the Carribean. They were also killed if they rebelled.
The rape of enslaved men was an open secret for several years during the slave trade days. Enslaved men were also forced to have sex with their master’s wives when masters were away. Many of these white mistresses used their African male slaves who exhibited great physique and strength. In general, the rape of enslaved men was overlooked because the issue of rape became very gender biased.