Monday, February 10, 2014
Security: It's Everyone's(!) Job, Part 1
Look, I don't care if you're male or female, perfectly healthy or lame, it's everyone's responsibility to be aware of security. Barring a worst case scenario where you end up alone, it's a whole tribe effort. There are three zones of security: Personal; your dwelling or home; and the area where your tribe has taken up residence. We'll be going over home and tribe areas in two more parts.
One of the biggest problems that females (and weak-looking males) will face is sexual predation by individuals and/or groups no longer constrained by the threat of punishment or retribution. These include being raped and murdered; savagely beaten to a pulp after being raped and left for dead for the rest of your tribe to find; or worst or all: enslavement, which leaves you either hoping they'll be kind to you or, likelier, being killed later on or commiting suicide.
This is a very grim picture that I just laid out for you, I know, but it was necessary. If you're a female prepper and haven't had such things laid out to you already, you've been getting it sugar coated. It's a reality and a fact of life during SHTF, be it of a global collapse nature or a severe localized disaster. Emergency service personal are going to be overwhelmed or dead. You're on your own. Security preps are to ensure everyone's well being is a team effort, even if you have to take baby steps now to get into the right mindset.
So to begin: Men, quit babying your females over what to expect. I'm serious. If you can teach them basic firearms and self-defense right now, DO IT.
Women: get yourselves out of the mindset that you're going to be taken care of and that your partner is always going to be there. He's not. I don't care if it's a skill you're not comfortable with, you need to learn everything that he knows. Your life, his life and the lives of everyone else in your group hinge on you accepting responsibility for yourself and taking all parts of prepping seriously. Otherwise, you will find yourself watching as your partner is killed in front of you by marauders. It takes everyone to avoid such a fate, but that means accepting you have to take an incredibly active role in security.
As a woman, I have a responsibility to my domestic partner to watch his back. It's in my best interest in terms of survival to do this, and the fact that I love him dearly and losing him would shatter my world doesn't hurt my motivation either. There are a few things that you and I, as females, can do to reduce the chances of calling unnecessary attention to ourselves. You're going to have to make a concerted effort to hide the fact that you are female. No, I don't mean burqas and no, I don't mean stopping acting like a regular woman in your everyday life. However be aware that when the crap hits the fan, you need to be ready to step into your new role.
What I mean is working with your partner, and others in your group, to establish protocol for two things. First is a means of identification for members of your group as they are returning to your camp from patrols, hunting and foraging. Second is working out procedures to deal with strangers. This post is all about personal security; the next two posts will be going over what you will need to be doing, and getting used to doing, in order to help with home and group area security.
1) Your Clothing
Okay first of all, DO NOT PUT BACK OR WEAR FORM FITTING CLOTHING. I don't care how hard the guys are begging you to look like a girl, you need to blend in among them. I'm not telling you to go full on butch, I'm telling you to think about your outfits that you will be wearing. I have a few pairs of men's jeans that I have put back. They are comfortable and about a half size bigger than what I would normally wear. If you were to only see my legs, you'd think I was a skinny boy who sits at the wrong end of the dinner table.
Waist up is a loose fitting T-shirt/long sleeved shirt and sports bra. Now, if you are a lady who has been blessed with a larger set of upstairs software, you'll want to invest in button up long sleeves... yep, those dreaded plaids. The main goal you want for waist-up clothing is that it doesn't emphasize the breasts. With the aid of the sports bras, you'll be able to reduce their profile and cut down the chances of someone tagging you. The over-shirt, which can be left untucked, provides you with the advantage of hiding your hips as you walk.
Put back comfortable NO HEELS shoes. You want boots and sneakers that are close to everyone else's. The point again is to blend in. Girly looking shoes will be a dead give away, and now you're a target when the entire point is not to be one.
Also, look into making or purchasing shemaghs. This, when folded corner to corner, makes for a great shawl for smaller framed women and children. When worn with the bulk of the material to the front, it can disguise your chest region (C cup or smaller) quite nicely. Now, if you have happen to be bigger, just make the shemagh bigger. (Side note: If you've a gearhead/techy/milspec nerd for an SO and they don't have one of these, they make great gifts and it'll be a great way for you to practice some basic sewing.)
Shemaghs are great. I have one, but plan on expanding the collection to at least three. Here are some links that should prove helpful. Future articles will be more in-depth on items like this, but these links should give you something to mull over.
2) Your Hair
Now I'm not such a hard core, rough-and-tumble Tomboy that I don't use salons. There are few treats to myself that I enjoy more than letting someone else deal with my hair. However, being able to afford such a luxury is not an option for me right now, so I have to maintain this rat's nest on my own. This means questions like How long do I keep it? and What do I wash it with? (I'm looking forward to writing that post because I have been finding dozens of stories from women where they stopped using chemicals for their hair and the hair is gorgeous, along with recipes for home made shampoos.) I don't recommend most woman take my route and shave it off, doing regular maintenance with a straight razor. It takes a serious lack of vanity to be able to pull that off.
I suggest that you make a girls' day of it, and YouTube the hairstyles that incorporate weaving and braiding your hair into up-dos that leave locks of hair close to your head. This not only gets them out of the way for work, but also makes them easier to cover quickly with baseball caps and boonie hats. Your hair will be one of the things that unsavory characters will looking for. Keeping it out sight will be crucial.
Honestly, I hope you're not being vain enough to put any back. The money that goes into makeup could be better spent elsewhere. If you want to put back some makeup, put back only one or two of a couple different things, like lipstick or eye shadow. Save those things for events like a birthdays or to celebrate a good harvest. Wearing it every day is uncalled for in a survival situation and makes you stick out.
4) Your Voice
If it's confirmed there are strangers, or even just a suspicion of strangers, keep your voice low. If you've been fortunate enough to learn sign language, use that. Not only will help you communicate quietly, but it'll prevent anyone from being able to use the sound of your own voice to conceal an attemt to get closer to you.
Part of staying safe is situational awareness, and everyone here at BCP will have a thing or two to say about that particular topic. Another part of staying safe is knowing you've developed enough of a skill set to really make someone hurt if they attack you.
There are hundreds (literally) of martial arts instructors who host self-defense seminars across the United States for women, for free. Find them. Attend them. Come home and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Men, this is where you get to take a hands-on part of the personal zone of security. (No pun intended.) Let the women show you the basics that they learned. Now practice with them. Ladies, this is crucial, as most attackers you will encounter during the coming times will be men. DO NOT COUNT ON THEM NOT BEING WILLING TO HURT YOU. Be willing and able to hurt someone in order to defend yourself.
Now there are advantages to practicing with your partners, ladies and gents. Helping her practice will help her confidence in herself and her abilities (and her ability to keep learning new things) grow exponentially. The added benefits of increasing the trust between the two of you, and the level of coordination between the two of you, will increase and flow more naturally, carrying over into other areas.
Honestly, it's perfectly okay if you end up knowing only the basics of hand-to-hand and firearms if you have practiced them to the point of instinct.
“I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.” ~ Bruce Lee
In Part 2, I will talk about security for the home.
The Fine Print
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