Saartjie (Sarah) Baartman was one of the first black women known to be subjugated to human sexual trafficking. She was derisively named the “Hottentot Venus” by Europeans as her body would be publicly examined and exposed inhumanly throughout the duration of her young life.
One of the saddest things about Sarah Baartman’s existence, besides her enslavement and objectification, is the absence of her voice in her own narrative. Everything we know about her has been recounted by the scientists, captors, and audience members who benefited from her circumstances. Her duty was to be seen and not heard. Sadly, that’s still the expectation for black women today