AWE (A Woman’s Experience)


Shana Clemence


violence against women, women in the Bible, Biblical studies


The Old Testament tells us the first woman on earth, Eve, was created from the rib of the first man, Adam. To many, this symbolizes equality between the sexes. A historical theologian said, “to be formed from the side symbolically indicates equality rather than domination or subjection” (O’Loughlin, 1993). Wheelwright-Brown (2020) stated how the effect of mankind’s view of Eve’s brave choice to partake of the fruit of the tree of life had serious, harmful consequences for women:

There’s the effect it had on men, and the way they have been subtly influenced to perceive women and think of women. I think some men have felt justified treating women poorly, because if they cling at all to this so-called origin myth, and they believe that [Eve] blew it—it’s her fault—[that] we’re living in this hard, mortal, fallen world—then it’s just this insidious, perpetuated notion that when life gets hard, it’s her fault—a woman was the cause of that.

Women of the Old Testament endured sexual violence because of the way Eve was viewed. In this paper, I will discuss the effect Eve’s story has had on the way women have been viewed in the world, analyze select biblical accounts of the treatment of these ancient women, and identify how their stories can help women today heal from their own experiences with sexual violence.