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Netflix's Maid is not just one woman's story. It's the story of thousands of women.

This post and its images deal with domestic violence and could be triggering for some readers.

Netflix recently released a new series titled ‘Maid’ based around Stephanie Land’s book Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive which draws on Land’s own life experiences.  

The series platforms highly talented acting and directing and includes themes of poverty, alcohol dependency, and domestic abuse.  

Part of the popularity of this new series may also be because it resonates so strongly with so many people. Maid is not just Stephanie Land’s life story, it’s mine too. And so many other women's. 

Watch the trailer for Maid. Post continues below.


Video via Netflix

The viewing is confronting, powerful and utterly compelling.  

As someone who has lived through intimate partner violence, I know this is not just a familiar story for me, but for many others.  

One in four women in Australia have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. 

The series highlights the destructive nature of domestic abuse and the long term impacts on adult and children survivors of emotional and psychological abuse.  

In the first episode, another survivor tells Alex sternly, "Before they hit you, they hit near you."

By the time I escaped my partner’s abuse, his blows had started landing on me.  

In my own case the physical bruises cleared up over a few weeks, but the psychological scars ran much deeper.  

Image: Supplied.

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Maid also assists its audience to understand just how frightening and unjust patriarchal places like our court system can be for female victims of abuse.   

I will never forget the humiliation and fear I experienced having to attend court one day after an unplanned and hastily executed escape, dressed right down to my underwear in my mother’s belongings.

The series is not just a story of sadness, Maid is also a love story about the shared bonds between a protective parent and their child - and the ability for daughters to save their mothers.  

In the series it is Maddy’s reaction to her father’s abuse – fearfully hiding in a kitchen cupboard - that ultimately propels Alex into action, saving them both.  

This is very familiar for me. Being assaulted in front of my little girl and finding her crouched in an empty bath hiding was also what pushed me into action. I have always known the truth is that my daughter saved me, not the other way around.   

Having escaped and established our physical safety, I took steps in a new journey. One where I realised, like Alex, just how hard practically putting my life back together would be.  

I had no income and my initial attempt to find work landed me in a local pub. Alex served others by cleaning their houses in exchange for the minimum wage.  

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In the evenings I learnt how to balance two plates on one arm and how to pour the perfect beer.  

I would spend the daytime soaking up the beach with my daughter - the ocean absolutely providing some type of healing power for us both.  

But it was exhausting – the healing, the recovery, the existing and rebuilding. The systems were immensely hard to navigate.  

Image: Supplied.

I eventually realised that our social structures had placed me on the poverty line without a clear pathway out.  

It felt a lot like a replication of an oppression I had become accustomed to in my previous abusive relationship.  

A reliance on government handouts that were just enough to see us physically survive, but not enough for me to ever imagine standing on my own two feet, creating a happy, secure future.  

A series of lucky turns placed alongside my born privileges created a space where I slowly but surely carved out a recovery that included some security and success for my daughter and I.  

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I am white, straight, able bodied, and had the support of a working middle class family which made it easier for me to recover and rebuild.  

It’s not to say that I am not proud of my own resilience and determination – it’s been hard work – but as a society we have to understand that while we celebrate and applaud stories like mine and like Stephanie's, we must also face the truth that our community is littered with other stories.  

Stories that remain unheard.  

They are not the ones we like listening to – because they are characterised by the same themes of domestic violence, alcohol and drug issues, poverty and mental health but they do not end happily, they exist without the final success.  

Most often it is not due to a lack of resilience or determination from the victims themselves. It is down to the structures and systems that ensure those without the same privileges I enjoy are trapped in cycles of poverty, intergenerational trauma. It is because of the society and system that continues to replicate the very abuse and oppression we experience in abusive relationships.  

A continuous punishment and abuse of power.

Do watch Maid. And applaud loudly – for the series, for the story, for Stephanie.

But please – follow up your applause with a commitment to ensuring we create a society with adequate structures and systems that assist all victims to find a future that includes the same sort of success I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to create.

Maid is not just Stephanie's story. It's mine too. And so many other women's. 

Read more by Geraldine Bliston: 'His comment during my labour shocked the midwife.' Why we need to criminalise coercive control.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home. 

You can also call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.

Feature Image: Netflix / Supplied.