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ONE of the greatest injustices to the poor is the right that the charities arrogate to themselves to visit them whenever they choose. Once you depend upon charity all privacy is gone. The sanctity of the home is destroyed. It is as though the family were living in someone else's — in the charities'— home. The investigator comes into the house unannounced any time of the day or night, questions anybody she finds in the house, criticises the meals, the curtains; goes around to the grocery, to the neighbours, looking for a "clue" that will give to the institution the right to cease helping the particular " case," to " cut her " as they say. This continual living in fear of the investigator, coupled with the attitude of the neighbours and merchants who have all been told that Mrs. D. is a charge of the charities, pauperises the poor to such an extent that most of them lose all sense of shame and pride. Mere rags they are, that try to fit themselves to surroundings, and the children, oh! the children of the poor! They are the greatest sufferers of all. They are continually cross-examined by the investigators. Never are they trusted, and the word "liar," is always on the lips of their torturers. They must not play like other children, and if they make an attempt to live their young lives, on the slightest childish quarrel with their playmates the fact that they are depending on charity is thrown in their face. "Charity kids," the other children call them. If they claim at the grocers that the bread is stale the fact that the mother depends on charity and consequently has no right to pride, is brought up, and though they pay actual money they are not given actual value for it. They must not play or stay in the hall. The janitor will scold them more than any of the other children. The " Why don't you go to work" is repeated every second. Their ages are always disputed. An applicant's child is always over fourteen (working age) in the eyes of the neighbours, janitor, grocery man, butcher, investigator and all the rest of the torturers.

A woman's pension has been discontinued because her children looked too well — they were "the picture of health," and as the investigator could not understand it the pension was discontinued. Another woman's pension, and many more before her and many more after her, was discontinued because she dressed too neatly. (By the way, the woman was a dressmaker by trade and as she had no sewing-machine she did it all by hand.) Like the sword of Damocles is the charity demon, hanging over its victims.

"Who visits her?"

"Does she receive men at night?"

"Does she go out in the evening?"

"Does she buy butter?"

"Don't you think she looks in the mirror a little too much? Where does she go?"

"Does she go to moving pictures?"

These are but a few of the questions that an investigator asks of the neighbours and dealers, and beware if she, the applicant, has ever quarrelled with them. But more than all this is the persecution of coming into the house without being announced, so that the poor woman might not be saved the pain of her friends (whom she does not want to enlighten) meeting the investigator.

The sanctity of the home is guaranteed by the Constitution of the land. It is a law. Are the laws different for rich and poor? In his own house one may refuse to receive when and whom he likes. This inhuman system of investigation is ruining the homes of the poor, driving away their boys, their daughters, and making their escape from pauperism impossible.

I know of a boy to whom his mother had given vinegar to drink because his cheeks were too red to please the investigator! I know of a woman who when her husband died did not know that she was pregnant. Two months later she knew it, but she had already told the investigator that she was not. In fear that the investigator would not believe that she did not know and would accuse her of immorality and cut off her pension, she performed a criminal operation, infected herself and died. Such is the dread of the "investigator," and almost all the applicants are women, and all the investigators are women — mothers — sisters, sweethearts — but their trade has hardened them so much that judging by their actions one would think them wild beasts. And still the Managers think that they are "too tender hearted." It is the whole system of organised charity that is criminal — debasing both the giver and he that receives, and this is not meant for the charities of this country alone. It is meant for the charities of the whole world over.



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Release date 02.11.2010
File size6.6 Mb
eBook formatNook, (torrent)En
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