Shifting our focus back to Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I want to talk a bit about a different version of domestic violence that many don’t consider to be “violence” … mental and emotional abuse.
This past weekend, I began watching the limited series on Netflix titled “Maid.” It follows the story of Alex, a young single mom who turns to housecleaning to make ends meet as she escapes an abusive relationship from her boyfriend, Sean, a drunken bartender. The series focuses on Alex as she overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her 3-yearold daughter, Maddy, but not without experiencing the difficulties that come from being a single parent with no income, no job and no home. In the process of looking for a job and financial/ housing assistance from the government, Alex is taken to court by Sean for “kidnapping” Maddy. In this moment, Sean is portrayed as a family man who is polite, caring and the victim. As Alex was never physically abused by Sean and has no proof of the “abuse” due to lack of filing a police report, etc., she temporarily loses custody of Maddy.
I am not finished with this series just yet. However, I am enraged with anger as I watch each episode for Alex and those in similar situations. This post on Facebook, by an unknown source, helps shed some light on the series and its importance on domestic violence awareness:
“So, MAID on Netflix … is possibly one of the most important series in history. Yep. I said it.
Why is talking about domestic violence so important? It’s important because even though women are the victims, domestic violence carries this terrible stigma even in 2021. It’s important because abusers are often publicly great guys. The victim’s family loves them, and they will often defend the abuser, leaving the victim without a support system. The victim becomes the bad guy who wants to break up the family. This series is important because abusers themselves and many other people do not understand how terrorizing verbal and mental abuse is—the constant promise of change, the apologies, etc. This series is important because women leaving abusers often have children and no income outside of the abusers, leaving them isolated and financially bereft. They often feel powerless and without a voice after years of their self-esteem being chipped away at. The victim is an island. This series is important because it deals with the realistic nightmare challenges of navigating the social services system, subsidized daycare and housing.
This series shows all of these things masterfully which makes it a real gem.”
Domestic violence is not just physical abuse. It’s emotional and mental, too. It’s controlling who you see and how you live your life. It’s demeaning, making you believe you are nothing without them. It’s making you believe it’s your fault for them acting out. It’s making you believe you are the problem.
I am here to tell you that you are not the problem and there is help a phone call away.
If you are experiencing any kind of domestic violence in your relationship, please reach out by calling the local Safer Path Family Violence Shelter hotline at 830-569-2001 or the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800- 799-SAFE (7233). Both are available 24/7/365.
You are important and you matter. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
REBECCA PESQUEDA is the News Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org