Verbum Incarnatum: An Academic Journal of Social Justice


While Medusa, like many monsters from Greek Mythology, has multiple origin stories, the one arguably best known to modern audiences is the one related in Ovid’s Metamorphoses 4.5750-803, in which Medusa is raped by Neptune in Minerva’s temple and subsequently punished by the goddess by being turned into the monster we all know. This means that Medusa is, to use the modern parlance, a survivor. Furthermore, Medusa’s experience after her violation echoes common elements of the survivor’s experience even millennia later. This suggests that many of the institutional responses to sexual assault that bedevil survivors today existed in some form centuries before European culture had defined the issue.