Thursday, November 14, 2013

Maid for Murder

This Wall Street Journal article sheds light on a disturbing issue – maids in India being severely abused, and sometimes killed, by those who employ them. Particularly troubling is that much of the cases point to violence by employers who are professional women. The WSJ article details a specific case where the battered body of a maid from West Bengal was found shortly after the Diwali festival in the Delhi residential compound of a lawmaker and his dentist wife. Neither have been charged with murder, but the police consider the wife as the prime suspect. Another helper to the family, a young boy, testified of cruel, almost slavery-like conditions imposed on them by the professional couple.
In reference to the increasing cases of violent behavior by professional women, an aid worker activist explained, “For so many years women were suppressed. And suddenly women are becoming empowered. Women are working.” The activist added that for some women, when faced with the pressure to run a home (especially around demanding holidays like Diwali) and do the bidding of relatives as well as excel professionally, “it all culminates in anger. And then the violence starts.” When society combines repressive attitudes about gender with the inherent prejudices imbedded in a caste system, the results can be tragic.

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