Women who live in a 1-dollar motel

Women who live in a 1-dollar motel

At JiLin, China, there is a women motel that has been operating for 24 years. Here, women can pay just 5 Yuan (less than 1 dollar) for a one-night stay. The guests mostly are the women from rural places looking for jobs in the city, or women who are victims of domestic violence and have fled from their abusive households.

Ms Sun, the owner of this motel, is 68 years old. She says, “women use this motel as a place of refuge.”

Most of the guests are single women, some women come with their kids. Nobody wants to talk on the first night, they are exhausted, and are often in tears.” This motel is a safe haven for these women. Nobody asks them anything; they understand people have been through tough times.

The oldest guest in the motel is Mrs Liu, she is 77 years old. She has been living in this motel for 22 years. After her husband died from cancer, she was left with insurmountable debt. She repaid a part of it by selling her house in the village, thereon she moved to JiLin in search of work.

Mrs Zhang, another guest, is a 64 years old woman, divorced her husband after living in an abusive marriage for years. She was left with no money or assets. Still, Mrs Zhang didn’t give up. She started working full time to support her family and herself. She is one of the most hardworking women in the city, working from 4 am till midnight. However, due to a lack of education, she can only find work as a labourer.

Ms Sun is the most generous owner but she is also meticulous in planning. The guests have to pay an extra fee for the hot water or for using a washing machine. But if someone is not able to pay the rent on time, she never asks for it.

For far too long, Ms Sun wanted to redecorate her motel. Limited budget and the fear that these women would have no place to go if she temporarily closes the motel, stops her from making the decision. Still, she has tried her best to change the interior. From hand made sheets and quilt for her guests to beautifully placed potted flowers on the balcony, she did give the motel a little makeover. Ms Sun wishes to operate this motel until she is too old to run it.

This kind of motel operates in many places in China, the motel is normally surrounded by labour agencies for them to find jobs easily. Women who live here are usually under a lot of pressure, from both family and work. Most of them are middle-aged, lacking proper education and were married young. They toil day and night, live in these motels away from home, but the haunting memories of abuse and violence, and indebtedness never seems to leave them.

Various reports suggest, in China,49% of the population is women, but 71% of women do not get enough education, most of them live in the village. 36% of married women have suffered from domestic violence, 157k women suicide per year, 60% because of domestic violence. The average woman gets abused 35 times before calling the police. 

Chinese patriarchal society has caused generations of women to suffer. Along with economic development, the advancement of women’s social status is also very important, which this society is still sorely lacking.


Team RSP


For the safety of the author, we have kept the name hidden. The information provided herewith is through an authentic and original source.

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