Obsessed with mythology as a girl, I read and reread the “Book of Greek Myths,” by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire. I fell in love with Artemis — her lack of sentimentality, her plea to Zeus to never have to marry. I even admired her assassination of Actaeon, the man who spied on her as she bathed. She splashed him with water and turned him into a stag; he was devoured by his own hounds. The book calls her “a cold and pitiless goddess,” but to me she was self-assured, unapologetically powerful.
In fourth grade, then fifth, I dorked out in the forest behind our farmhouse after school, wielding a plastic bow and hiding in the trees whenever a car passed by. Every now and again I declared to no one, “I shall not marry!” I was a friend to wild animals and an enemy of insolent men. My mind spiraled open, ablaze with transformations, woman to tree, woman to white deer, woman to spider. Metamorphosis and power.
While reading my favorite book, I wondered about the word “rape,” as in the Rape of Persephone. I lingered over the illustration of her descent into the yawning pit, Hades’ arm securing her to the chariot. Above, in a blue dress, searching and despairing, was the faint figure of Demeter, the woebegone mother. I thought I understood what rape meant: When someone does something unwanted.
In sex ed class we watched a cartoon of an older man looming over a young girl. Your bathing suit covers your private parts. There was a rumor floating around about wicked things that happened to girls who walked around too stupidly on lonely streets at night. Kicking and screaming in cold stairwells. That word again: rape. We giggled nervously. It felt like a sick joke.
None of this prepared me for what a boy would do to me when I was 14 and he was 17. This was the moment of my own metamorphosis — one moment I was someone, the next, someone else. Like Persephone, like Daphne, I was changed utterly by a desire that in no way reflected my own. The coldness that followed was more Pygmalion than Apollonian, more marble than wood. I told myself I felt nothing because nothing had happened. It didn’t even occur to me to call it rape. I’m still unwilling to say it aloud, as if it gives him power over me, when I want rather to put my foot to his throat and tell him, Give it back.
I’ve been revisiting the d’Aulaires’ text, still a staple of school libraries, sharing it with my children. They, too, have their favorites. My daughter loves Athena and Arachne; my son, the Minotaur and Medusa. One evening I found myself reading aloud, “Daphne would rather be an unmoving tree than the bride of the great god Apollo, but all the other nymphs loved to sit at his feet and listen to his enchanting music, and were very honored when he or any of the other great Olympian gods chose one of them as a bride.”
In other words: Trust us, plenty of babes are jonesing for these fine dudes.
“You know what,” I told my son, age 9, and my daughter, age 6. “I don’t agree with this at all.”
We talked, as we have before, about consent, about their ownership over their own bodies. I didn’t go in depth with them about the euphemism of “bride” for “sexual partner,” but it’s irritating. No wonder I felt so little for Daphne until I was old enough to recognize the familiarity of her desperation. No wonder I thought Hera was a jerk, Persephone a ditz. The book that told their stories also derided them.
Artemis was a cold and pitiless goddess.
Even Medusa, who was my gateway into mythology and monstrousness, is dumbed-down by the d’Aulaires. Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” recounts the birth of Medusa’s hideousness: She is raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple. Like many abusers, Poseidon faces no personal consequence. Athena can’t reach him with her wrath — he is too powerful, even for a goddess — and so she ruins Medusa instead. Snakes for hair, reptile skin, a repulsiveness that renders her not only undesirable but dangerous. In the d’Aulaires’ recounting, Medusa’s back story is ignored; Perseus cuts off her ugly head while she sleeps. He uses a mirror to guide his stroke — a mirror that reflects the victim and not the perpetrator.
After my own metamorphosis — a virgin, then not — I called the 17-year-old to break up with him.
“You’re stupid,” he said, laughing. “You’re immature. You don’t just break up with someone because you’re unhappy.”
The words paralyzed me. Around him I grew murderously watchful, even as I let him do things to me I didn’t want. There was horror there but also a disturbing curiosity. He’d already taken everything, so what else could he do to me?
My mom, like Demeter, stomped overhead, calling my name. She sensed I was gone, that something major was amiss. “Get out of this,” she said. “Get away from him.” She was worried I loved him, that I’d marry him and ruin my life.
I laughed at her. Love him? I hated him. I told her to leave me alone, but now I look at the picture of the girl being dragged into the underworld and I marvel that my mom reached for me as immediately as she did. I scowled and rebuffed her but I heard her, too. Someone was fighting for me, her voice faint above the gray banks where I wandered, and I was less alone for it.
Soon I turned 15. A couple of months later, the boy boasted to me that he was sleeping with a woman his own age, and I broke it off with him officially this time, sobbing not from grief but from humiliation. My girlhood lay dead in a cold blue room, a room I never wanted to revisit, but I woke up the following morning grateful to be free.
In the d’Aulaires’ book, Pan tries to rape the nymph Syrinx. When she escapes by turning herself into a reed, Pan plucks 10 reeds from the ground and creates the first panpipe, declaring it “the melodious voice of his beloved.”
I was lucky enough to keep my voice. I started writing. In my fiction I’ve drowned one rapist and shot another. In my last book, the rapist gets away with it, as most do.
But what I really want is a different kind of metamorphosis, to be not the woman altered but the woman altering. What will it take for us to toss the water onto the rapists’ heads, to watch assured as they flee, the blood-mouthed hounds — guilt, say, or responsibility — snapping behind them? It is not the violence of such a scene that attracts me, but the righteousness. Artemis was a cold and pitiless goddess. She knew — or learned — where to place the blame.
Sharma Shields is the author of the forthcoming novel “The Cassandra.”
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四海图库统一“【雷】【马】【怎】【么】【了】？” 【远】【远】【的】，【时】【影】【便】【能】【看】【到】【雷】【马】【躺】【在】【兵】【阳】【怀】【里】，【连】【忙】【跑】【了】【过】【来】。 【原】【来】【海】【菟】、【音】【逅】、【桓】【祭】【三】【人】【与】【时】【影】、【空】【影】、【冼】【筑】【三】【人】【汇】【合】【后】，【时】【影】【也】【不】【主】【张】【杀】【了】【洛】【珊】，【他】【打】【算】【从】【洛】【珊】【口】【中】【获】【得】【更】【多】【神】【族】【信】【息】。 【因】【此】【时】【影】【想】【到】【了】【杜】【苟】，【他】【擅】【长】【施】【毒】，【可】【以】【给】【洛】【珊】【下】【一】【种】【毒】【物】，【既】【不】【害】【她】【性】【命】，【又】【能】【压】【制】【她】【神】【力】。
【荣】【银】【海】【一】【字】【一】【句】【地】【说】【道】：“【你】【不】【插】【手】【这】【件】【事】，【退】【出】【兴】【荣】【帮】【帮】【主】【之】【位】【的】【争】【夺】。” 【荣】【金】【山】【不】【置】【可】【否】【道】：“【你】【让】【我】【对】【兴】【荣】【帮】【的】【叛】【乱】【袖】【手】【旁】【观】？” “【这】【不】【是】【叛】【乱】！”【荣】【银】【海】【大】【声】【道】。 “【勾】【结】【日】【本】【人】【对】【自】【己】【的】【帮】【派】【老】【大】【下】【手】，【这】【还】【不】【算】【叛】【乱】！【你】【告】【诉】【我】，【什】【么】【才】【叫】【叛】【乱】？”【荣】【金】【山】【也】【还】【以】【同】【样】【的】【怒】【吼】。 “【我】【说】【了】，
【神】【枪】【手】【四】【连】【的】【这】【个】【夜】【晚】，【是】【激】【动】【兴】【奋】【和】【其】【他】【情】【绪】【交】【织】【中】【陷】【入】【梦】【乡】【的】。 【萧】【辰】【打】【破】【的】【不】【仅】【仅】【是】【一】【个】【三】【十】【公】【里】【急】【行】【军】【的】【记】【录】，【而】【是】【神】【枪】【手】【四】【连】【官】【兵】【心】【中】【对】【萧】【辰】【的】【偏】【见】【和】【抱】【怨】。【从】【某】【种】【意】【义】【上】【讲】，【老】【黑】【所】【说】【的】【萧】【辰】【巴】【不】【得】【林】【康】【那】【样】【做】，【也】【确】【实】【存】【在】【他】【的】【道】【理】。 【林】【康】【带】【的】【那】【个】【班】，【回】【来】【的】【路】【上】【不】【少】【战】【士】【都】【在】【担】【心】【林】【康】【今】【后】【的】
“【若】【道】【友】【将】【鄙】【人】【受】【困】【在】【此】【的】【消】【息】，【传】【达】【给】【灵】【族】，【定】【会】【得】【到】【丰】【厚】【的】【报】【偿】……” 【先】【敲】【打】【真】【小】【小】，【不】【能】【像】【杀】【死】【龙】【血】【藤】【那】【样】，【毫】【不】【客】【气】【地】【杀】【死】【自】【己】，【再】【许】【以】【重】【金】，【云】【中】【楼】【的】【表】【情】，【勉】【强】【恢】【复】【从】【容】，【感】【觉】【自】【己】【与】【小】【白】【马】【之】【前】，【还】【能】【再】【进】【行】【一】【场】【交】【易】。 “【做】【人】【怎】【么】【能】【这】【样】【无】【耻】【呢】？【之】【前】【还】【想】【杀】【了】【我】【们】【来】【着】。” 【真】【小】【小】【嘴】【角】四海图库统一【京】【师】，【聚】【水】【阁】【总】【部】。 【白】【淼】【淼】【慵】【懒】【地】【躺】【在】【床】【上】，【她】【的】【两】【个】【侍】【女】【侍】【立】【一】【旁】，【白】【淼】【淼】【的】【手】【中】【捏】【着】【几】【个】【精】【美】【的】【瓷】【瓶】。 “【敏】【儿】，【你】【说】【我】【今】【天】【是】【喷】【这】【款】【清】【晨】【密】【林】【呢】？【还】【是】【霓】【裳】【羽】【衣】？【要】【不】【再】【喷】【昨】【天】【的】【深】【宫】【侍】【女】【如】【何】？” 【敏】【儿】【一】【边】【轻】【轻】【摇】【着】【团】【扇】，【一】【边】【捂】【嘴】【笑】【道】：“【阁】【主】【乃】【是】【人】【间】【绝】【色】，【又】【何】【须】【这】【凝】【香】【露】【的】【点】【缀】？【依】【我】【看】【呐】
【看】【着】【前】【面】【的】【坑】，【玉】【祁】【心】【里】【也】【是】【有】【点】【欢】【愉】【的】！ 【还】【好】【这】【怪】【物】【没】【有】【成】【长】【起】【来】，【要】【是】【到】【了】【后】【天】【境】【界】【了】，【就】【算】【是】【玉】【祁】【要】【杀】【它】【也】【是】【千】【难】【万】【难】，【甚】【至】【还】【杀】【不】【死】。 【不】【过】【这】【怪】【物】【也】【没】【有】【成】【长】【起】【来】，【就】【如】【同】【小】【孩】【一】【样】。 【走】【到】【坑】【旁】，【把】【坑】【上】【的】【灰】【给】【刨】【开】，【一】【块】【奇】【异】【的】【金】【属】【让】【玉】【祁】【看】【得】【有】【点】【呆】【了】…… “【这】【是】【什】【么】【东】【西】？”【玉】【祁】【在】【心】