MAID: A Commentary on the Netflix Drama Series

One of the most popular shows on Netflix is Maida 10-part miniseries filmed in Greater Victoria and adapted from Stephanie Land’s memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. The show follows a young, single mother fleeing an abusive relationship who gets a job as a maid to help make ends meet. The main character, Alex, is desperate to provide a better life for herself and her young daughter, Maddy.

For local viewers, an entertaining aspect of Maid is identifying more than 160 local locations used throughout filming. However, the show carries a serious tone and depicts some of the challenges faced by women who attempt to leave abusive relationships.

The series begins with Alex waking up in the middle of the night to quietly escape with her daughter, Maddy, as her abuser sleeps. As Alex starts to drive away, her abuser appears, banging on the hood of her car and screaming at her. Terrified, Alex continues to drive.

Like many clients that come to VWTH, Alex’s relationship with her partner seemed great at first: he was funny, intelligent, considerate and attentive. But slowly, as life circumstances became more complicated, he demonstrated a sharp temper and an
escalating need for power and control.

Alex doesn’t initially see herself as an abuse survivor because she was not physically abused. But, with support and discussion, she comes to recognize the many faces of domestic abuse, including psychological and emotional abuse; financial abuse and withholding funds; threats and intimidation; as well as isolation from family and friends.

At one point in the series, Alex’s partner takes her to court to gain sole custody of Maddy, their daughter. Alex, alone without legal representation or any support in the courtroom, cannot understand how her abuser, a person struggling with substance use and anger issues but in court with his supportive family and a fast-talking lawyer, could even qualify for custody.

Issues of intergenerational violence and abuse are unveiled through a series of flashbacks. Paula, Alex’s spirited mother, was abused by her ex-husband. Now, as an older woman, Paula continues to find herself with abusive men. As a child, Alex witnessed abuse in the home and now, as an adult, is also in an abusive relationship. Later, Alex begins to recognize the intergenerational pattern of abuse and wants to break it to help ensure that her daughter has a chance for a safe and healthy future.

By the end of the show, Alex’s life seems to have a Hollywood ending. But not all cases of intimate partner violence and abuse come to such a neat conclusion.

At VWTH, we support women, with and without children, fleeing domestic violence and abuse. We provide Emergency Shelter, counselling—both supportive group and individual counselling for women, older women and children who witness abuse—and support programs that help women through the justice system and with their legal issues, financial concerns and housing needs.

We wish Alex and Maddy all the best but know that in reality, most survivors will have a much more challenging journey. VWTH is here to offer safety and support for these courageous individuals and hope for the future.

Support is always available. VWTH’s 24-hour Crisis & Information Line (250.385.6611) provides judgment-free support for women who are experiencing or have survived intimate partner violence and abuse. Concerned family members, friends, colleagues as well as professionals can call for support, information, resources and referrals.

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