Inspiring message behind the Medusa tattoo trend


Courtesy of Sydney Kearns

Sydney Kearns proudly displays her Medusa tattoo. The tattoo represents her survival of sexual assault.

Clara Wicinski, Reporter

A recent Tik Tok trend shows individuals tattooing Medusa on their bodies to symbolize their survival of sexual assault.

Medusa is a creature from Greek mythology who was thought to have snakes for hair and a deadly gaze that could turn people to stone. The modern tattoo community sheds a different light on Medusa. Rather than an evil serpent, she is shown as an unyielding protector.

Sydney Kearns, a human development and families studies major, tattooed Medusa on her body in September of 2021, almost a year after her sexual assault.

“I decided to get it on my stomach,” Kearns said. “Your stomach is not something that everyone sees on a daily basis, it’s a little secret part of you.”

Kearns uses her tattoo as a safeguard and  a symbol which can be shown to only those she chooses. The eyes of Medusa are piercing to those who look, and they give Kearns the strength she needs in order to heal.

“Everyone’s always like, ‘what does it mean?’” Kearns said. “Well, it means that I can turn men to stone if I really wanted to.”
Kearns is not aware of the viral Tik Tok trend about the tattoo, but is happy that victims are finally speaking out about their experiences. She applauds Kent State for being supportive and giving her the resources she needed after her experience. She encourages students to reach out when they need help.

The university offers assistance through the Center of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SRVSS). Kearns herself has used its counseling services.

“They make you feel human,” Kearns said. “They’re really good at being super supportive and walking you through it.”

Students who are in need of services can call SRVSS at (330)-672-8016 or visit the SRVSS’s website at

Clara Wicinski is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]