Thursday, April 02, 2009

A woman inprisoned

A woman who gives birth alone, and then abandons the baby is a woman who is out of options. A woman who does this on a plane, on her way to take up low-paying migrant work, is out of options and resources. Whatever your political analysis of the woman who gave birth in a plane last month, it does not take much empathy to understand that her situation was not one of her own choosing, and that what she did was an act of desperation and powerlessness.

I had wanted to write something, but hadn't known what to write. A polemic seems almost grotesque when you think what she has been through. But then I heard on National Radio, that she had been remanded in custody.*

She has been in prison for ten days now, and was arrested six days after she gave birth. I know I'm a radical when it comes to prison, and so what I have to say about how much people don't belong in prison sounds slightly hollow. But I don't understand what possible good comes from locking this woman up under any logic at all.

I believe that Karolaine Maika's situation, and her incarceration are a feminist issue, and that feminist solidarity is most important when it comes to women who are most marginalised by society. I would encourage feminists to to support Karolaine Maika in jail. The most simple thing you could do is write to her:

Karolaine Maika
C/O Auckland Region Womens Corrections Facility
Private Bag 76908
South Auckland Mail Centre
Manukau 2240

You can send phones cards and money to people in prison with your letter. Money goes into the prison account, and can be used to buy things from the prison shop once a week. Phone cards are useful as a way of contacting people outside of prison, and are sometimes used as trade for other items. If you send either of these things, then mention them in the letter to make sure they get to her (if you want to do more, then leave a comment on the thread - if there's one thing I'm not short on it's information on how to support people in prison).

Mostly when I talk about feminism I talk about collective resistance. But I think support plays an important role in feminism as well. It doesn't take much to write a letter.


  1. Anonymous4:24 pm

    "The Manukau court was told
    "The Manukau court was told how Maika was embarrassed about having a child out of wedlock"

    I imagine embarrassed would have been a polite term used by this woman to avoid saying that her relatives would have beaten her to a pulp for having an illegitimate child.

    I will qualify the following assessment by saying that I cannot be 100 % certain of it but that it is probably correct.

    I used to work with 2 Samoan girls. Both lovely, well educated and very competent in their jobs.
    One of them was absent from work for about 1 week which was unusual for her. When she did finally return to work she still had bruises from an assualt from a male family member (not her husband). The reason for her assualt was apparantly that she had stayed out late past 11 oclock.

    I chatted with my Samoan workmates/freinds about this and was told that without exception their female relatives were assaulted by the males and even by female relatives.

    As I said this woman would more than likely faced a great deal more than embarrisment had her family found out about her pregnancy.
    She would have most lilely have faced a severe beating.
    I would be surprised if the NZ police were not aware of the cultural violence she would have faced. This makes her imprisonment pretty disgusting. When are men ever jailed for deserting their entire families.
    I would prefer to believe this unjust jailing was based on ignorance of her true situation however in my assessment her jailing by NZ Police is a vicous, callous and sexist reaction of our male dominated police force who incidentaly recieve a good part of their large secret salaries from taxes paid by poor women.

  2. Anonymous12:54 pm

    The woman who dumped the baby in the plane is nothing short of a beast

  3. Anonymous10:41 am

    Maia what an absolute load of drivel! Please get your facts straight and get your head out of the sand