Friday, June 11, 2010

Life of the Wife after SHTF

Hello Ferfal,


I was interested in knowing what life is like for your wife.  Being 

a mom with two small children, I want to get someinsight on

 what lies ahead.  What are "safe places" she is able to

 go?  Grocery store? Doctor/dentist?  How has 
her ability to conduct business and move around with the

 children to tend to every day home tasks been affected?

  Any insight would be much appreciated.  If you have 

written on this already, feel free to direct me to the location

 as I am a new reader.   


Thank you for your insights, honesty, and hard work.





Hi Eileen, thanks for you email.
My wife stopped working this year. Her family’s company is located in a bad suburb of Buenos Aires and its getting ridiculously dangerous.
A lot of people just don’t have an option but we decided that its the safest thing to do and not worth the money, not that any amount of money is worth your life, but again, most people don’t have an option.
She used to go in public transportation (bus) since the car ads a greater risk in that particular area (very poor, so only “people with money” have cars) , its better to apply the “gray man” approach (or in this case, “gray woman” :-) )and get lost in the crowd.  This means other complications but all things considered it was safer. They still robbed the company several times and we made this decision after a few conversations.
These days she stays home doing housewife stuff, goes to the gym three times a week and looks after our youngest son and picks our oldest from school (half a block away).

Since we’re leaving to USA in a few more months, we’re being extra careful and we’re putting our lives on hold. She moves around with “remis” (informal cab drivers) when she has to take the kids to the doctor or run errands, go to the grocery.
Your question is a very good one and it points out certain things people don’t notice.
A family works as a group, a team, and like a chain, the chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
When it comes to security, that link would be my wife and kids.
I can take all the self defense classes I want, I can train, carry guns, and do everything I can think of, that wont change the fact that my wife is a very easy target when she’s taking my oldest son to the dentist.
People look at me and they don’t see someone that would be an easy victim, my petite wife is a different story. She’s alert and aware, but sometimes tha’s not enough. 

Criminals know this, they are experts in telling how you’re going to react and how dangerous you are. I often discover after talking with people, even if it’s a big guy, if he has a weak personality, in spite of the size I know before asking that he has been robbed before. It’s you body language, the way you walk, your eyes, if you look alert and most importantly, if you actually CAN hurt someone if needed. A criminal will know all this instinctively just like a bee knows there’s nectar in a flower.
Since we understand that, we try to minimize her exposure as much as possible, specially since we’re not considering this a permanent situation.
We don’t go out much, when we do we take every single precaution we can, up to the point of being paranoid. Paranoid keeps you safe, happy go lucky means you’ll get mugged and you’ll be a violent crime victim often. That’s simply how it works in Argentina. Nothing assures you anything, no matter how careful you are, but it clearly reduces the odds a lot.

Now for most women, they have to deal with it and cant afford to quit their jobs: Being very careful to get home quickly after dark, extra care with their purses, careful not to use the cell phone so it doesn’t get snatched out of their hands. Having some money in case you get mugged isn’t a bad idea either. Some people have been shot because the scumbag didn’t find enough cash in a purse, some sort of revenge I suppose.
A lot of women, including my wife, carry OC Spray and keep it handy when walking on the street. Knives and guns also get carried in purses by more Argentine women than you’ll ever hear them admit. It’s the kind of thing you do but don’t tell anyone.
Its not easy for women. There’s an abundance of social predators that know the truth.
By this I mean that people think we live in the same world we used to live in, where there’s a punishment for your crimes. Even though most Argentines understand that this situation has changed a lot, there’s still that general subliminal idea in the mind of the population. On the other hand, there’s other people, specially criminals, that understand this is no longer true.

I’m trying carefully so as to not sound alarmist or like someone that exaggerates things, so lets just put it the following way: You have to be very, very stupid AND very unlucky to get caught for committing crimes in Argentina. I’ve posted about the exact number of actual crimes getting resolved here and the criminals being sentenced, but its far less than 3%.
In such an environment, criminals of all kinds, perverts, rapists, assassins, they all work and hunt at will.
Just today I got a chain email from an old girl friend from College. She’s warning women still going to the university about perverts taking pictures in the women’s bathroom when you’re in the toilet. There’s a rapist hunting in the faculty of medicine too, INSIDE THE BUILDING, in some of the more abandoned floor levels where there’s some labs still active. How is this possible? The building is big, the funds are a joke, so two things happen: 1) Many floors and classrooms just aren’t used, so in the same buildings you have “no man land” sectors and floors 2) There’s no fund to put guards, cameras, and security. This same situation occurs in hospitals, schools, and many public buildings where rapes, robberies and even homicides occur with alarming frequency. 

Its not easy to live in Argentina, and its specially hard for women and older, more frail people.
Check the “security” and “self defense” topics (down, left column) you’ll find I often talk about security issues for women and senior citizens.



Anonymous said...

would it be possible for women not to
"dress like women"? no dresses, skirts, etc.? maybe dress like
a "gray man"?

Anonymous said...

No matter what you do or don't do, other people may find fault with your precautionary measures. I am a woman and I posted about "dressing down", i.e., "not looking ultra feminine" as one of the things I do to avoid "looking like a target" and got blasted from people who posted on this site. They found fault with my thinking and said wouldn't it be better "to have a man" in my life instead - rather than appreciating what I was saying. It doesn't matter what other people think as long as you are the one who will suffer the most when it comes down to being safe or not. We women, as opposed to most men, do have a sort of built in radar, a sensitivity when it doesn't feel safe - probably to make up for our lack of body strength, we get extra sensory! Since I do the thinking in my particular situation, and I have to deal with any consequences for what happens, I look, act and walk as if I am no way going to be easy to "take down" and I definitely don't dress "feminine" even if the men on this site have a problem with that (they did). Safety first is my motto! (*a post script to my earlier post where I got blasted for dressing down and taking these precautions, I want to say that the serial killer who killed two young girls close to where we live was recently caught and he lived right around the corner from where we live (2 blocks). So I did right, and you follow your gut feelings, too, never mind what any one else thinks unless you believe it has merit. God bless you and stay safe.

j said...

I've never been in a proper fight,
or been mugged,
or anything like this.

I've only properly hit 2 people in my life.

All this didn't really bother me until I started getting into women.

Now I feel somewhat different. The possibility of someone affecting someone who matters to me is possible. In some respects it's still ego, in the same way throwing a first punch is sometimes ego. In addition, some women wind us up, get us into dangerous situations in the hope that we'll handle it and they'll be turned on. I won't bend to be lead by a woman like that.

However, loved ones to care about changes the tables. So, in effect, we get strength from a relationship but it's also a weak point.

The realisation came to me `Oh my god, how can I protect my woman?` along with that line from FightClub `How much do you really know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?`

Of course, these 2 questions... socially unacceptable. And rightfully so. But I ask them anyway.

Anonymous said...

-sigh- Here we go AGAIN. Dressing up as a man is not going offer a woman as much protection as some people here would like to believe. Obviously, women should avoid high heels (makes it difficult to run away) and shouldn't dress in flashy clothing that attracts attention (neither should men for that matter). But otherwise leaving the house looking "unattractive" isn't going to make much difference, and it's dangerous to have a false sense of security that you're immune to crime because you're "ugly". Newsflash: would-be muggers and thieves target women for the same reason they target the elderly; they're perceived as too weak to put up too much of a fight. To a criminal, an ugly woman is just as weak and easy to exploit as an attractive woman. So if you want to dress down, go right ahead, but don't claim that it makes you safer. It doesn't. It only makes you feel safer.

Another female reader

Maldek said...

"How much do you really know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?`"

I like fight club - got the limited extended edition even - there is so much truth in this movie....

@anon female
I think it was me who commented your earlier posting..if you are a girl with an old age dad.

I never said the strategy is "faulty".
The "gray man" works well. FerFall too is a fan of it I believe.
To blend in with the masses, esp. in big cities has long been a working strategy. It does however not alter your body language, so if you are full of fear, a target your are, no matter how ugly you look.

If you are indeed that girl with the old age dad I made the point that you will miss a lot in your life if you center your life around nursing your old dad and give up everything else.

I for sure would get mad if *MY* daughter would do the same to me when I am that old.

Please dont confuse 2 different statements I made.

Anonymous said...

I have never been mugged/robbed/taken down, even when I was in San Francisco's Tenderloin district and had to go out at 10pm. I am male, and a lot of people get the wrong idea of me from the internet, but some people have told me that I have what are called "dead eyes". Those are eyes that have no spark of life, no nothing, just dead. Look at the eyes of a lot of young people, here in the USA and in Argentina, and you'll see what I mean.

I purposely tried to acquire "dead eyes" when I was a teen so I wouldn't get bullied at school, and it took me a while but I did it, and after that, and the way I walk and talk and carry myself, convinces crooks that I'm one bad dude. I think that having dead eyes would be the best way to not get targeted. It's harder for women, since they tend to be more empathetic, but once they do they don't get targeted.

Also, if word gets out that you're psycho, people won't mess with you. My whole high school knew that I was nuttier than a fruitcake, so I wasn't bullied. If you're really truly psycho, the other psychos will sense it and back off you.

Angry Cow

Anonymous said...

I was mugged once by two teenagers 40 years ago when I was 22 but parts of it have stayed with me. I was walking to visit a girlfriend in a crummy part of a big city when two teens jumped out from a bush. One put his arms around me from the back and the other stood in front of me and demanded my money. No weapons in sight. Amateur night. Oddly enough, I was studying tae kwan do at the time though I didn't really use much of it. I broke free from the guy holding me and ran down the middle of the street yelling "help, robbers, help". No one came but the dudes did not follow. The main thing I remember is how high my heart rate went and the level of adrenaline in my system. I'm not sure that my system would tolerate that degree of stress at this point.

My brother was robbed by someone who leaped out from behind a bush and put a very sharp pointed Fairbairn knife under his throat and demanded cash. My brother was terrified because he was carrying a holstered pistol at his belt and was afraid that if the guy felt the pistol, he'd just cut his throat. Fortunately, he didn't and my brother was able to just give up his wallet.

Since then, I walk down the middle of the street with my hand on a pocketed pistol when I can't avoid going to a crummy area.


Anonymous said...

"If you're really truly psycho, the other psychos will sense it and back off you."

Sounds like the cure is worse than the least sane people will have friends to back them up.


RusM said...

Good luck in the USA! If you like the rain and have a career that is in demand (which I'm assuming you do as you are emigrating) then you might want to check out Washington state as a place to live. If you are ever up this way I'll buy the first round.

Lergnom said...
has a bit to say about women and danger. Granted, it's about a stalker ex-boyfriend, but the advice is good.

Anonymous said...

Russ, what part of Washington? I grew up in Eastern Washington! (the dry side of the State)