Raped and cursed by the gods, Medusa is the figure chosen to represent the burden of rape
A whistleblower trend
Should a rape victim denounce her attacker and demand justice or, on the contrary, wallow in silence and avoid scandal? This is the existential question that currently animates social networks in reaction to the new trend of Medusa. Whether on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Youtube or tweeting… The icon representing the mythological figure of Medusa is everywhere. Shared by rape ‘victims’, the chilling image of the snakehead is often accompanied by tales and stories of girls but also boys who have been sexually abused by loved ones and mere strangers.
It doesn’t just happen to others
If some deliver the sordid details of their rape, others are satisfied with the representation of Medusa by designating their rapists: #Medusa# Mon_oncle, #Medusa#Mon-père, #Medusa#Mon-voisin, #Medusa#Mon-professeur …A broad denunciation movement that has taken over the world. This by calling on the victims to emancipate themselves from their feeling of shame and to show how widespread and very common the phenomenon is.
“We believe we are safe. That it only happens to others. That if a girl is raped, it’s because she’s been looking for it by being in questionable places, by wearing tempting outfits, because she’s promiscuous… ‘you’re raped by your own uncle when you haven’t done any of that. We then keep silent so as not to be stigmatized forever, “says one of the Egyptian victims, trying to finally free herself in a Facebook post.
A confidence in the open public which required a lot of courage from this victim and which explains the choice of the figure of Medusa for this new trend. Indeed, in Greek methodology, Medusa was a beautiful mortal who was transformed into a monster by the goddess Athena after being raped by the god of the sea, Poseidon.
According to the myth, the hideous monster was originally a young priestess with magnificent hair. Desired and courted by many suitors, she declined all these advances because having made a vow to serve Athena. However, Poseidon found her in the temple of the goddess. Some versions say that the god of the seas managed to conquer it. But the most common version says he simply raped her.
Furious because of the violation of her temple, Athena then goes after the victim and punishes Medusa by turning her beautiful tresses into snakes. She gives him the destructive power to turn anyone who meets his gaze into stone. Myths describe his transformation into a monster as incredibly painful. Medusa was killed and then beheaded by Perseus who was greatly aided by the Greek gods…
Similarities to modern rape victims? ” Certainly ! Rape victims are often stigmatized. In some conservative societies, they are even demonized and penalized as was the case for Medusa. They are held responsible for what happened to them, ”explains Nadia Moatassim, clinical psychologist. Double victims, the raped live a double ordeal after having suffered sexual abuse, as the specialist explains to us.
“If they have the courage to denounce their rapists, the victims often have to endure the stigmatizing gaze of society, but even worse that of their loved ones. The latter, unable to manage their feeling of shame in the face of the scandal, they project their distress and their pain on the victims by condemning them”, analyzes the psychologist.
An insurmountable situation that sometimes leads families to reject their own daughters, as was the case for Leila. B, an 18-year-old girl, raped by a thug in Fez and thrown into the street by her parents. Suicidal and at the end of the abyss, she was saved in extremis by the social workers of the Social Reintegration Center for women victims of violence in Fez.
Empathy with absent subscribers
A sad story among thousands that fails to stimulate the empathy of a large number of detractors of the Medusa Trend. “Let’s assume that you were really raped, that you were really forced, that you are real victims, is it however necessary for everyone to know that you are no longer a virgin? asks the Egyptian Abdellah Nour. The latter does not hesitate to quote the Prophet Muhammad to condemn those who publicly display “their peach trees”!!!
On the Algerian page “What i wrote” to thousands of subscribers, the administrator goes further by castigating: “Why the hell is this trend? What exactly should it be used for? If you are a victim and you are suffering, you just had to go to a shrink instead of shouting from the rooftops that you are being raped! “. A position shared by a large number of detractors of the trend and who pour them into sarcasm. “Now every girl who has just had a good time with her lover and the latter drops her, will come and feel sorry for her fate by posting the face of poor Medusa while playing the victim”, quips a Moroccan Internet user, addressing girls who shared the hashtag “prostitutes”!!!!
So why this violence in the reactions to a trend that should in principle arouse solidarity and empathy? “Society generally hates to see a bad reflection of itself. Social networks have become this “disfiguring” mirror. Such a trend that dares to reveal abominable, incestuous acts and other taboos will automatically generate an outcry. We somehow protect ourselves from the atrocious reality by trying to veil it. It’s simply denial, ”explains the psychologist.
If the latter recognizes that speaking out about her rape on social networks and openly requires a lot of courage, she does not omit the liberating power of such an attitude for the victim. It remains for society to be brave enough to face its reality and learn to assume its own flaws.