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The Rape of Medusa, and Why That’s Relevant Today

The Rape of Medusa, and Why That’s Relevant Today

Did you know that according to greek mythology, Medusa was not always the hideous snake wielding, stone-turning monster we all learned about in school? She started out as a beautiful, youthful priestess (the highest honor a woman could have at the time) in the temple of Athena.  Poseidon, who Athena had a thing for, decided he wanted to have Medusa, and when Medusa declined his advances, raped her in Athena’s temple.  

Athena heard about this, instead of blaming Poseidon for being an asshole, she blamed Medusa, and turned Medusa into that horrible creature we all know. The one Perseus eventually killed. But before he killed her, Medusa was exiled to the island of Cisthene because she kept turning everyone she looked at to stone.  And then she was mercilessly hunted by man after man, who wanted to kill her for the power of her eyes.

Medusa – a young girl who was raped by Poseidon one of the most powerful Gods on the planet. And then punished for it, and turned into a monster hunted by even more men who wanted her ability to turn people into stone, and eventually killed by another.

What does this say about the culture at the time? And what does that say for us now?  That this story is in our collective conscious, as well as our scholarly one.  And what message are we sharing with our children, when the story is changed (to protect their sensibilities), to say that Athena was angry Medusa seduced Poseidon and desecrated Athena’s sacred temple and her job as a virgin priestess. 

On another level, it reminds me very much of what happens to women in countries with muslim governments when they are raped. The rapist isn’t necessarily punished, but women can be jailed, whipped or worse (stoned to death). All for being the victim of rape. In Saudi Arabia for example, women are jailed for being raped unless they have multiple eye witnesses that insist rape, not sex outside of marriage, occurred. This is exactly what happened with Medusa when Athena, instead of asking what happened, simply assumed Medusa because of her great beauty must have seduced Poseidon. Even though it would make no sense to do so inside the very temple Medusa was honored to be a priestess of. 

Medusa, like the Magdalena, has been maligned for millennia.  Let’s hope that the women of the world, will not allow the same to keep continuing to our sisters in countries run by any form of Sharia or Islamic-muslim law. 

 







My Devina

My Devina

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