Punisment for slave rape

Sep 2012
Tarkington, Texas
To answer these type of questions you would need a law degree from the area this was happening in. Then you would need a District Attorney that was willing to bring charges. Slaves could not give testimony in court.



Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
We went through this before. There is no known case of anyone master or otherwise, black or white, being prosecuted for raping a slave.
Oct 2017
America ??
The author of ‘Twelve Years a Slave – Enhanced Edition’ makes some references to an “unwritten plantation survival code” in the ‘Chapter and Historical Context Notes’:

[94]. “Cook and Ramsay, as overseers, probably were overstepping their authority to make a decision to hang the rebellious Solomon, but they were acting under the mandate that a slave must not be allowed to strike a white man. There was the belief that this could incite more violence between blacks and whites within the tightly controlled plantation society. Since plantations formed the base of all Southern society, this control was critical. In such an encounter of a slave with a white man, the danger to the black slave was overwhelming. A Louisiana law passed in 1806 provided the death penalty for striking a master, mistress, or one of their children so as to cause contusion or effusion of blood. A similar act in 1814 included striking an overseer with similar effect [See Gray, 517].
Dr. Edgar Thompson, premiere plantation scholar of Duke University, called the unwritten code that ruled plantation country, “The Plantation Survival Code.” This code was required in the caste society where maintaining the status quo had much to do with securing the base of the economy: the plantation and slavery. The code included rules developed to maintain plantations with a dependable slave work force, and breaking them was not permitted—whether by a white or black dissenter.
Gray confirms the role of neighbors and the community regarding the control of slaves:

“The actual well-being of slaves, however, was dependent not so much on laws as to the humane instincts and economic interest of the master, and the power of neighborhood opinion. The latter was undoubtedly an important source of protection.
Sir Charles Lyell declared, “The condition of negroes is the least enviable in such out-of-the-way and half-civilized adventurers and uneducated settlers, who have little control of their passions, and, who, when they oppress their slaves, are not checked by public opinion as in more advanced communities.” [See Gray, 517]”

[112]. “The strategy of William Prince Ford relating to the treatment of slaves by owners was not unique to the Reverend Ford. An unwritten Plantation Survival Code included rules that planters respected even above the law. Planters were the final authority in “the small colonies,” as the first plantations laid in Virginia in the seventeenth century were called. They were macho individualists accustomed to obedience from everybody residing on the plantation, including their wives and children. As patriarchs concerned with every aspect of the lives of the people on their plantations, they simultaneously bore the responsibility for all residents—food, shelter, health and medical care, and burials.
Planters sometimes risked action against themselves by fellow planters in cases of extraordinary violence or cruelty against a slave or slaves. The Plantation Survival Code included combined planter action against a planter whose behavior toward his slaves threatened the working relationship between planters and their slaves. The reason for the Plantation Survival Code was practical. Without slaves working under the direction of a planter, no crops could be raised, which meant no income to pay off the borrowed money the planter owed. To protect their interests, planters attempted to tightly control every aspect of plantation life possible, especially since they worked under the sure knowledge that nothing could be done to protect the crops they were cultivating against other substantial risks, such as acts of nature—too much rain in the tropical climate, too much drought, winds, early freezes that made the sugar cane worthless—or the devastation caused by pests such as caterpillars and boll weevils. Crop failures happened often. In addition to the unwritten code, a Louisiana law passed in 1830 allowed courts to take control of slaves abused by a planter, sell them, and reimburse the owner from the proceeds of the sale [See Robert to Eakin].”

[125]. “Wilson writes of the whipping of slaves from morning until night; this reported continual whipping raises questions about how such violence against the bodies of slaves might have affected their work and value. While there may have been countless acts of individual cruelty and even a single whipping would be abhorrent, Wilson’s claim of around-the-clock whippings may have been a dramatic embellishment to appeal to the book’s audience. This continuous violence would have run counter to the unwritten Plantation Survival Code designed to restrain the slaves and maintain the status quo under the strategy described by William Prince Ford in the narrative [See endnote 112]. The slave owner’s investment in slaves represented the extent of his negotiable property [See endnote 58].
Available are written records for five people who lived on these same Boeuf plantations, and they provide no description of daily atrocities in Boeuf plantation country. One of the five people, William O’Neal, was a slave himself during the same period as Northup who dealt with the same people; he also employed a ghost writer for his own book. O’Neal made enough money on his free time to buy his freedom. In dealing with his white
“master and son in his purchase, O’Neal told of their dishonesty, causing him to pay twice the price for himself, much higher than the price upon which the slave had agreed [See O’Neal, chapter 6].”