Resisting Narratives: Sexual Abuse Under American Slavery as “Twilight Moments”
This essay resists Anna Clark’s theoretical framework of using “twilight moments” in order to understand the rape of enslaved peoples. Clark’s framework of twilight moments endeavors to provide a vocabulary that explains prohibited sexual acts that were pursued in private or as an open secret without scrutiny. Based on this framework, she suggests that the rape of enslaved peoples can be understood in such a manner. By looking at the sexual abuses against African-American men under American Slavery, I argue that the conceptualization of twilight moments requires an element of mutual consent—an agreement that could not exist while slaves were considered an owner’s chattel. Rather, I argue that these sexual violations must be considered on their own terms in order to do justice to the grim histories created by American racialized law and sensibilities.