I ask this question. In a world that was destroyed due to a great catastrophe. A new world order has emerged and the people are governed by a council of 12. This new world order allows slavery to exist. Slaves still are treated like citizens, but they are treated as second-class citizens.

Now from an analytical perspective would the use of one's slave as a sexual release be accepted in this community? And if so would rape really even be a crime against the slave or would it only be a crime against the slave's master as damaging his property?

Thank you for your help and input.

closed as primarily opinion-based by dot_Sp0T, AlexP, user535733, Ryan_L, Renan Nov 11 at 7:58

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You may need to consider the contradiction inherent in your question. if slaves are citizens, even lower-class citizens how can they be property? Also, crimes against property are committed by persons other than the property owner. Sadly, property owners can do whatever they like with their property. Your question is essentially is one of law, and not answerable by analysis. Answers will depend on the nature of the laws of your post-catastrophe society. – a4android Nov 10 at 12:12
  • @a4android property owner can do whatever they like with their property. No, definitely that is not the case. I cannot set my flat on fire because it would endanger the people (and property) living in my building or next to it, or the FD members. I cannot set fire to my car tires because of environmental laws. If I own an outstanding ouvre d'art, I may be forbidden from exporting it. If I own an historical building, I may be forbidden from tearing it down. I must respect zoning laws. I may be forbidden to sell my goods to certain countries. I cannot torture or abuse my pets. – SJuan76 Nov 10 at 12:32
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    To the OP, it is your world so you need to set the legal framework. Raping an slave could be a crime not because of the abuse of slave but because sex outside marriage is illegal. Or it could just be that slaves are granted certain "natural rights". You decide. – SJuan76 Nov 10 at 12:38
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    All kinds of horrible behavior can be (and are, and have been) rationalized by otherwise nice folks, especially for hindbrain-involved functions. This makes the question seem opinion-based to me. The idea of an "analytical perspective" of either culture or psychology seems perhaps naive. – user535733 Nov 10 at 14:03
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    It depends so very heavily on the particular legal and judicial setup of the society in question that it's not possible to answer in general. For example, in ancient Rome (1st and 2nd centuries, let's say), a slave did not have will, and thus the slave could not give consent. A man was free to use his slaves in any way he wanted. A master could lend his slave for the purpose of prostitution, as a normal arrangement. But! Using a slave without her master's consent was considered a crime against property, and using force to have sex with another's slave was considered a crime of violence. – AlexP Nov 10 at 14:14

slaves are still treated as citizens, but just as a lower class.

In all the places where slaves were allowed by law, they were never citizen. Citizens have rights, slaves are just self moving objects.

According to Marcel Mauss, in Roman times the persona gradually became "synonymous with the true nature of the individual" but "the slave was excluded from it. servus non habet personam ('a slave has no persona'). He has no personality. He does not own his body; he has no ancestors, no name, no cognomen, no goods of his own." The testimony of a slave could not be accepted in a court of law unless the slave was tortured—a practice based on the belief that slaves in a position to be privy to their masters' affairs would be too virtuously loyal to reveal damaging evidence unless coerced.

About your other point

would the use of one's slave as a sexual release be accepted in this community? would rape really even be a crime against the slave or would it only be a crime against the slave's master as damaging his property?

The concept of rape and/or consent has been a quite recent development. Until few decades ago, an upper class male using a lower class woman as sexual release, no matter what her opinion was on the topic, was accepted, and was a task of the woman avoid tempting the man's appetites.

At most, and not always, the issue was solved with a compensation given to the controlling male in the woman's group (i.e. father).

With regards to your question, if the virginity or physical integrity of the slave is considered as an added value, it is likely that a compensation for the damage should be due to the slave owner. Imagine the owner of a brothel having to offer his customer a prostitute with a scar on her face... it would lower her market value.

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    "Until few decades ago, an upper class male using a lower class woman as sexual release, no matter what her opinion was on the topic, was accepted, and was a task of the woman avoid tempting the man's appetites:" maybe in America, where everything is possible. But Roman law says otherwise, and it's definitely more than a few decades old. (Sorry for the link to the French edition, I could not find an English translation. The book is also available on Archive.org in the original German.) – AlexP Nov 10 at 14:00
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    @AlexP, victim shaming and blaming in the case of rape (still happening today) tells the difference between situations de iure and de facto. A farmer girl accusing a nobleman of raping her would have hardly been taken seriously, even though the law might have been in her favor. – L.Dutch Nov 10 at 14:23
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    And yet the rape Lucretia, 6th century BCE, triggered the revolt which made Rome a republic... I found a scholarly text in English: Nghiem L. Nguyen, "Roman Rape: An Overview of Roman Rape Laws from the Republican Period to Justinian's Reign", in Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, vol.13 no.1, 2006. – AlexP Nov 10 at 17:54

The way I see it, there's a single question here that needs to be answered: Are slaves citizens?

slaves are still treated as citizens, but just as a lower class.

In the mentioned text you just said they're treated as citizens. You never said the are citizens.

The way I see it, the word "citizen" implies that you are a member of that society. As such you have rights and duties that are probably described in the post-apocalyptic version of a constitution.

It's up to the content of this constitution to state what can and can't be done to a citizen. I'm think it's safe to assume that this society of yours is not one that would openly allow it's members to slaughter and rape one another.

So if the slaves are citizens, damage to their integrity by another citizen should be punished accordingly.

I think the answer for this dilemma lies in the requisites for becoming a citizen.

The loophole you're looking for might just be here. If this is a community, I'm certain that one of the duties of the citizen is the periodical payment of taxes. Slaves pay no taxes 'cause they have no money - and that is against the rules. Therefore, he can't be considered a citizen. Wouldn't be fair to everyone who works to pay taxes, right?

Rich people use the cracks in the written laws to enslave others. If you lose the status of "citizen" you're royally fucked. There's nothing stopping anyone from writing your name in a binding slave contrac. Then, the value of your life starts being the exact value of how useful you are to someone else. In the moment you stop being profitable you'll probably be sold (to a maniac or to an even more desperate owner, since he's buying used slaves) or be disposed of.

If the concept that "you are not a person. You have no rights. I can do whatever I want with you" is hammered enough times in the minds of people for a sufficient amount of time, it starts to seem normal.

That's the point where the raping and killing of a young slave would be perceived as an annoyance only to the poor owner who lost a perfectly fit worker and will seek legal action against the perpetrator of the crime, as means to guarantee compensation for his loss.

Slaves were never citizens, only property.

The closest analogue to the situation you describe is a few ancient civilizations, such a Babylon, had an arrangement where slaves could have slaves of their own, and since these second order slaves were the property of the "higher" slaves, then the owner had no ability to legally use the second order slaves for their own purposes.

While this seems strange to modern sensibilities, it suggests that a very wealthy civilization with a clear rule of law could look at the issue of chattle slavery in a different manner.

It should also be clear from more recent history that the concepts of slavery did change from time to time. Ancient slaves could be from anywhere, and no one thought this was odd at all. The ancient Greeks, for example, considered slavery an unfortunate side effect of life (you could be a wealthy and powerful citizen of a city state, and be sold into slavery of that city state was sacked in a war), and reserved their criticisms of slavery for the Spartans, who enslaved an entire people (the Helots) for their agricultural work. The American idea of slavery based on race is also an anomaly, in Africa, many of the slaves were originally captives from intertribal wars, but it was more profitable to sell them to Arab slavers than to keep them.

So if you want this to be an element in your story telling, consider the various ramifications that might fall out from this. The most likely is the property owners will object to having their slaves used in this fashion without compensation, and slaves themselves will take actions in the background to limit their exposure to these sorts of practices if they can. There may also be internal divisions inside the slave population (field hands vs house negros, for example), which if not handled properly, could lead to unrest or even revolt amongst the slave population.

So long as the actions fall logically out of the starting conditions, you will have maintained your reader's interest and not dropped them out of "suspension of disbelief" when the climactic scene happens.

I think the proper term for a woman you own and have relations with is concubine. Keeping a concubine would not be a strings-free means of "release", of course, because she would essentially be a lower-status wife. You'd have to protect and provide for her, and be a father to her children, and your friends would sooner or later get to know her so if she's not a quality woman your reputation is going to suffer. A man in this society would have to choose his concubine almost as carefully as he would choose his primary wife. (Oh, and the wife might have an opinion about the matter, too!)

If a man in a society with or without legal slavery wants a "release" without commitment, he would probably see a prostitute. Why buy when you can rent?

Yes, absolutely

The history of chattel slavery in the Americas and Europe tells us that white men would freely but discreetly engage in sex with coloured slaves, and rape of a slave in your own household would not be considered a crime or merit punishment. In most other contexts involving rape of a slave, a white male perpetrator would also be fine. Sex with slaves so common in the US south, in fact, that they introduced the legal doctrine of partus sequitur ventrem in the mid-17th century: this meant that children received the status of their mother at birth, thereby abdicating white fathers any responsibility or obligation towards their mixed race offspring.

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