Sex Slaves: Then & Now

December 17, 2011

It’s odd how perspective can change things.  Consider how yesterday’s sex slaves become today’s romanticized fantasy set in a wonderland straight out of the Arabian Nights. Consider how even nowadays, human sexual rights are just as obscure to the powerful and those who do not suffer.

Sexual Futurist has enjoyed looking at our human history from the offerings of the British Museum’s History of the World in 100 Objects.  But when it comes to sexual abuse, the editors of “100 Objects” missed it.  Both the book itself and the BBC site show how lovers of art and antiquity can be blinded to human suffering.   They have minimized horrific levels systemic sexual abuse by the Abbasid Caliphate centered in what is now Iraq and ranging throughout their far-flung empire stretching from central Asia to Spain.  You’d never know there was any real abuse reading the text of the book:

“For me, these fragments have more magic than any movie.” 


“Here, there could be self-indulgence and boisterousness.”

Or from the website:

“Slave girls could come from any part of the world. In Islam you are not technically allowed to enslave Muslims, so most of these girls come from border territories – from central Asia, from Ethiopia, from the Basque Country in Northern Spain…  The freedom of slave girls was often slightly greater than that of free women in the sense that they did not have the same reputation to protect as free born women. To become part of the Caliph’s household was actually something women could aspire to and if you were of humble origins but you were good at singing or dancing and you got properly trained then this was a real career move.”

Think of a modern ad designed to appeal to the poor and the dispossessed:

Aspire to something few women can hope to have!  A real career move!  Live in the palace!  More freedom than respectable women!  Become part of the household like the finest of furniture.

Yes that was a different time and place and this is not the time to judge them…or is it?  What if it was your child?  Imagine the Afghan child at left in such a system that included boys for sex slaves and castrated adult males for eunuch guards.  The harem wall fragments are, more than anything else, a record of the victims of serial sexual abusers–their souvenirs of good times–“scenes of enjoyment and entertainment.”

They exist now only as scraps of paintings but once they were real people.  Sometime around 800 to 900 AD, their people were conquered.  Fathers who had fought, defending their families, were mostly killed off or left to die; boys who were thought serviceable as slaves were often castrated.  Boys and girls were kidnapped and then, if they were “good enough,” they were sold into service for sexual abuse.  The real historic value of item #52 was missed by the curators and historians because for them, the contemplation of the human sexual component was utterly missed.  Come reason with us.


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One Response to “Sex Slaves: Then & Now”

  1. Rayshelon says:

    This aritlce went ahead and made my day.

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