Providing Litigation Services Throughout Nevada
Free Initial Consultations
Purple domestic violence awareness ribbon

Maid: Domestic Violence in Pop Culture, Part 2

Contact Us!

As part of our continuing series, we are discussing domestic violence issues through the lens of the Netflix show Maid. Recapping the story from Episode 1, Alex is our main character. She has fled the home she shares with her boyfriend Sean, taking their daughter with her. As Episode 2 opens, Alex is now homeless, eventually taking shelter in a domestic abuse center. As the episode progresses, we begin to see the typical patterns of an abusive relationship.

Victims Often Rationalize Abuse

At first, Alex is hesitant to go to the shelter. She does not believe she’s been “abused for real.” Alex has not been directly harmed, but her boyfriend has punched objects close to her. In Episode 1, he shatters glass that falls into their daughter’s hair. This is the incident that causes Alex to leave in the first place.

Alex still equates domestic violence with direct, physical abuse. A social service worker explains that domestic violence comes in many forms and urges Alex to seek help. Alex finally agrees to go to the domestic violence shelter with her child.

Abuse is defined in many ways. Some forms are not even illegal. In divorce court, you can prove abuse beyond the physical. Abusers can prevent their victims from leaving the home. They can control the victim’s money or cut off access to their friends and family.

Emotional abuse is even more sinister because it is harder to detect. Abusers can make unilateral decisions that affect the relationship or the victim’s life. They can belittle or gaslight their victims. Gaslighting is a form of deceit. Using this method, abusers make their victims question their own experiences or perceptions. All abuse victims deserve protection and emotional help. Big, muscular men can be emotionally abused by petite women, and it takes these men just as long to recover and deprogram themselves as any other victim.

In Alex’s case, Sean’s actions were becoming more violent, and they weren’t likely to stop there.

Abuse Usually Gets Worse

While at the shelter, Alex makes a new friend, Danielle. After some time, Danielle convinces Alex that Sean was legitimately abusive.

She tells Alex, “Before they bite, they bark. Before they hit you, they hit near you. Next time, it was gonna be your face, and you know that.” She then shows Alex the mark on her neck where her partner strangled her, explaining that the abuse didn’t start out that way. It escalated.

According to, abuse worsens in virtually every circumstance. There are two types of escalation, gradual and sudden. Abuse is often the result of the abuser’s need to exert power.

When left unchecked, physical abuse can become fatal. In a murder case, investigators often suspect a spouse first, as they are the common culprits. A study in the UK looked at 372 murders committed by romantic partners. It found a common pattern of 8 steps:

  1. The killer had a history of abusing their partners.
  2. The romance had an accelerated beginning, quickly becoming serious.
  3. The abuser controlled the relationship through coercion.
  4. Something triggered the abuser, making them feel less powerful. For instance, they may have lost a job, or their victim ended the relationship.
  5. The abuser’s manipulative techniques escalated. Perhaps they began stalking their victim, threatened to commit suicide, etc.
  6. There was a change in the abuser’s thinking. Their manipulations failed, so they made a decision.
  7. With a decision made, the abuser began planning how they will commit murder.
  8. They executed their plan, killing their victim.

Victims Often Return to Their Abusers

After having a few experiences with her new job and Sean’s family, Alex returns to the shelter. Upon arrival, she cannot find Danielle.

Danielle’s story is a familiar one. This isn’t the first time she’d left her boyfriend and been to the shelter. While Alex was gone, Danielle received calls and texts from her boyfriend professing that he’s “sorry.” He tells her that he loves her and tries to explain away the violence. Eventually, Danielle falls prey to the cycle of domestic violence, believing her partner, leaving the shelter, and returning to the relationship.

The shelter director tells Alex that it takes around seven tries before victims leave their abusers. This has been Danielle’s third stay at the shelter. The director reveals that she also left her abuser a total of five times.

Psychologists sometimes refer to the phenomena of “abuse amnesia.” In abusive relationships, there is often a chemical response in the brain that becomes addictive. It can also rewire someone’s expectations. During intense moments, the victim experiences a rush of cortisol and adrenaline. They are “hyper-aroused” in these moments. Once things have calmed down, such as when Danielle’s boyfriend coaxed her back, the victim experiences a similar emotional flood of relief. With such intense hormones suddenly rushing and leaving, the brain can grow accustomed to this pattern. Eventually, the “rollercoaster relationship” becomes normal, and victims begin ignoring, forgiving, or outright forgetting the turmoil of their abuse.

Abuse Victims Can Be Powerless Against the Legal System

Some abusers operate in explosive, uncontrollable ways. Others are much craftier and more manipulative. In Maid, Alex finds herself up against many legal obstacles. She receives a phone call from Sean’s attorney, notifying her that an emergency custody petition has been filed. The next day, Alex goes to court, and Sean is in the lobby with his attorney and his entire family. Once the hearing begins, Sean’s attorney convinces the judge that Alex is unstable.

The judge gives Sean temporary child custody for seven days. He tells Alex that she may see her daughter only with a third-party supervisor present. She must also find employment and create a plan to provide for the child. The next day, Alex tries to enter the home to see her daughter, finding the door locked. Sean’s mother finally answers and refuses to let Alex in.

If you’re suffering from an abuser, your first priority is to get to safety. Once comfortable and cared for, seek immediate legal representation. Like Alex, you may be in a financial bind, unable to afford legal counsel. Fortunately, you have options. Many shelters have resources that can put you in touch with an attorney. Below, we have provided an exhaustive list of organizations you can contact for help. Some may be able to point you toward a lawyer who works pro bono, which is volunteer work where the lawyer doesn’t charge the client.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, the following resources may be helpful:

Emergency Telephone Numbers

  • Police Emergency 911
  • Fire Emergency 911
  • Boulder City Police Department 293-9224
  • Henderson Police Department 565-8933
  • Ambulance Dispatch Center 384-3400
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police 229-3111
  • Poison Control 732-4989
  • North Las Vegas Police 633-9111
  • Nevada Highway Patrol 486-4100

Important Telephone Numbers

  • HELP Team for Homeless Persons 229-4348
  • Nat’l Missing & Exploited Children 388-2888
  • Mount Charleston 1-800-492-6565
  • Clark County Fire Department 1-800-843-5678

Homeless & Emergency Shelters Domestic Violence Hotlines

  • Interfaith Hospitality Network 638-8806
  • Clark Cty Emergency TPO 646-4981

400 W. Van Buren, Las Vegas, NV Clark Cty

  • Court TPO Office 455-3400

480 W. Bonanza Road, Las Vegas, NV

  • Las Vegas Rescue Mission 382-1766
  • National Crisis Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
  • Nevada Crisis Hotline 1-800-486-7282
  • St. Vincent’s Annex 384-0409

1526 N. Main St., Las Vegas, NV

  • SAFE House Crisis (Henderson) 564-3227
  • SAFE House (Offices) 451-4203
  • Salvation Army Shelter 639-1876

35 W. Owens, North Las Vegas, NV

  • Safe Nest Crisis (LV, NLV) 646-4981
  • Safe Nest (Offices) 877-0133
  • The Shade Tree 385-4596

1 W. Owens, Las Vegas, NV

  • The Shade Tree Crisis (LV) 385-4596
  • The Shade Tree (Offices) 385-0072
  • WestCare Youth Shelter 385-3332

300 E. Charleston, Las Vegas, NV

Other Hotline Services

  • Child Abuse Hotline 399-0081
  • Catholic Charities 383-0766

1560 N. Main St., Las Vegas, NV

  • Child Protective Services 455-5481
  • Mental Health Crisis Center 486-8020
  • Christ Church Episcopal 735-7655
  • Missing Children (NV) 486-3539

2000 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas

  • Poison Control, Clark County 732-4989
  • Christ the King Church 871-1904

4925 Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, NV

  • Rape Crisis Hotline 366-1640
  • Senior Protective Services 455-8687
  • Community Food Bank 643-0074
  • Southwest Passage (Español) 631-8722

4601 E. Cheyenne, #111, Las Vegas, NV

  • Suicide Prevention 1-877-885-HOPE
  • HACA 486-6770

145 Panama, Henderson, NV

  • Suicide Hotline-Clark Cty 731-2990
  • Salvation Army Family Center 649-8240

35 W. Owens, Las Vegas, NV

  • WestCare Detoxification Center 383-3044
  • Weekend Emergency Assistance 383-4054
  • WestCare Youth Shelter 385-3330

1501 N. Main, Las Vegas, NV

  • Alcohol Drug Treatment and Referral 1-800-454-8966
  • Women, Infants & Children 647-2171

2220 Comstock Dr., N. Las Vegas, NV

Transitional Housing

  • Ashley House 647-2010
  • Golden Rule, Inc. 383-0847

624 E. Stewart, Las Vegas, NV

  • Project Home (EOB) 647-3307

330 W. Washington, Ste. 7, Las Vegas

  • Real Property Services Corp. 385-6935
  • Women’s Development Cntr 796-7770

953 E. Sahara. Ste. 201, Las Vegas, NV


  • Boulder City Jail 293-9224
  • Clark County Custody Information 671-3900
  • Clark County Detention Center 455-3700
  • Henderson City Jail 565-2028
  • Juvenile Booking 455-5450
  • Las Vegas City Custody Information 229-6429
  • Las Vegas City Jail 229-6099
  • Las Vegas METRO Custody 455-3900
  • North Las Vegas City Jail 633-1404
  • Clark County Housing Authority 451-8041
  • Las Vegas Housing Authority 386-2727
  • N. Las Vegas Housing Auth. 649-2451
  • EOB Housing Assistance 657-7816
  • Women’s Development Cntr. 796-7770

Child Care Information/Assistance

  • EOB Child Care Assistance 387-0985
  • Clark County CC Licensing (referrals) 455-3894
  • Clark County CC Assoc. (ref.) 734-0504
  • Las Vegas City Licensing (referrals) 229-6922
  • Nevada State Licensing (referrals) 486-5099
  • Clark County District Atty. 455-4204
  • Henderson Police 565-2525
  • Las Vegas City Attorney 229-2525
  • Las Vegas METRO (not DV) 229-2955
  • Las Vegas METRO (DV) 229-2690
  • Nevada Attorney General 486-3539
  • North Las Vegas Police 633-1751
  • U.S. Attorney General 388-6336
  • Victims/Crime Compensation 486-2740

Legal Resources/Services

  • Clark County District Court Self-Help Ctr 455-1500
  • Clark County Law Library 455-4695
  • Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada 386-1070
  • Nevada Legal Services 386-0404
  • Nevada State Bar Lawyer Referral 382-0504
  • Senior Law Project 229-6596

Immigration Assistance

  • Comm. Action Against Rape 385-2153
  • Compassionate Friends 456-0052
  • Catholic Charities 383-8387
  • Families of Murder Victims 873-5696
  • Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada 386-1070
  • Nevada Assoc. Latin Amer. (NALA) 382-6252
  • Secret Witness 385-5555
  • Nevada Legal Services 386-0404

Miscellaneous Services

  • Catholic Comm. Services 385-2662
  • HELP of Southern Nevada 369-4357
  • Jewish Family Services 732-0304
  • Henderson Allied Comm. Adv. (HACA) 486-6770
  • LDS Family Services 385-1072
  • Nevada Assoc. Latin Amer. (NALA) 382-6252
  • Lutheran Social Services 639-1730
  • United Way of Southern Nevada 734-2273

Our firm is here to help victims of domestic abuse. We can assist with protective orders, and we may be able to begin divorce proceedings right away. You can reach our office by calling (702) 766-5566 or using our online contact form.