She claims that “slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own” (Jacobs 830). Although Jacobs does mention physical violence in her narrative, she centers her narrative on female damage from mental violence such as sexual oppression. Since men were considered the dominant gender during the slavery era, they were obligated to commit deplorable acts such as rape towards women. Jacobs had two negatives going against her, being a black woman, so she was subject to not only physical violence but also sexual oppression and rape. Slave owners also“never allowed his offspring by slaves to remain long in sight of himself and his wife” and thus she “shuddered at the sound of his footsteps and trembled within hearing of his voice” (828). While Douglass was seeking freedom for himself, Jacobs had to worry about her own children as well. No mother should ever be separated from their children, even if their children are the products of rape.
Today, in the era of freedom, we rely on slave memoirs to live vicariously through the eyes of survived slaves. However, slavery may have been even worse than we assume, as there were times when slavery was in times “too cruel to describe in words.” While at first Douglass’s narrative seemed graver as he directly emphasized slavery’s physical violence, Jacobs struggled just as much or even more as women were subject to sexual oppression and rape. In spite of that, both Douglass and Jacobs’s narratives show slavery’s extreme violence, ranging from brutal whippings to persecution and