It would not make sense to escape or backslash any characters at all in the internal representation -- they are, byte for byte, exactly what they are.
A perl "string" is just a contextual perspective on the scalar datatype. Eg, if you want to compare two scalars that contain string values, you would use "eq" to indicate that is the context. If the scalars contain numerical values and you want to compare them as numbers, you would use "==". You can use "eq" on scalars that are just numbers which treats them, contextually, as strings. Ie, "string" is not a datatype in perl. There are only three datatypes: scalars, arrays, hashes.