Everyday hero

Woman’s pious act taken advantage of by abusive boyfriend, completely altering her life

Maira Maidana (YouTube).

A pious act of faith by Maira Maidana on Christmas Eve nearly six years ago ended up radically altering the course of her life. Maidana was in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend who routinely beat her. On that fateful night before Christmas, she lit a candle, closed her eyes and prayed to the patron saint of Argentina, fearing another beating was coming from her boyfriend. But instead of savage blows from her boyfriend’s clenched fists, she felt something else entirely: Intense heat. She turned around and saw her boyfriend standing there holding an empty bottle of alcohol, the contents of which he’d doused her with. Her entire body was on fire. She ran to the bathroom to extinguish the flames, but none of three faucets she turned on worked. Her boyfriend had tampered with the home’s water system so she would suffer. Eventually, she made it outside and jumped into a kiddie pool that had water in it. But the damage was severe.

Since that night, Maidana has undergone 59 surgeries to treat her burns. She’s been left with scars all over her body. And, another excruciating twist, Maidana spent years lying about how she suffered the nearly fatal injuries. But now that she’s gotten involved with the #NiUnaMenos (not one less) movement in Argentina, she’s speaking up about her ordeal and speaking out to help others.

“With Ni Una Menos, women are no longer hiding,” Maidana, 29, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Before, we wouldn’t talk. I don’t know if it was fear or shame, or feeling that justice was not on your side … I like it that it’s now out in the open.”

Maidana knows all too well the cost of remaining silent. And in a country that saw 2,384 femicides between 2008 and 2016, she wants to share her story to inspire others in a similar predicament to act.

“I want them to know that everything they’re suffering is not necessary,” she said, adding that “you can get out of it before it’s too late … that you can ask for help that is increasingly there.” For more on her story and the movement, watch the video below.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


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