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To not want to visit DPs home town for my own personal safety?

(93 Posts)
Eastie77 Tue 08-Jul-14 18:01:13

To set the scene, DP is from a very small port town in Southern Europe. He has told me before that there are few foreigners there and virtually no non-white residents. The few non-white people in the town tend to be either illegal immigrants en route to other countries or sex workers. There has been a lot of tension in the town over the years due to the presence of said immigrants and several reports attacks on them (house firebombed, a driver attempting to knock down someone of 'foreign' appearance)

The attacks made the news in the UK and I am very concerned as I am not white and am very reluctant to visit this place due to this situation. DP wants us all to go (we have a 1 year old daughter) to visit his brother. The rest of his family live in other towns in his home country and I am prepared to visit those towns as they are larger, cosmopolitan areas. His parents have passed away so his only relative in the town is his brother. I have suggested his brother can take a train to his sisters house (they in the North of the country in the city I am happy to visit) so we can meet them all there. We are planning to visit the sisters anyway. He has rejected this idea because his brother has a health problem, an issue with his eyes, and apparently does not like to travel. Plus he wants to show me where he grew up and wants to introduce DD to his friends. I understand all of this but I really do not want to go to this town. I do not want to be stared at or worse by hostile people.

To make matters worse there is a LOT of criminality in the area and it is nominally 'controlled' by a criminal/Don figure (you can guess the country). He has to visit this man, a friend of his late father, and has said I should go with him. He is blase about the whole safety issue saying that since it is immigrants who are targeted I am not in danger. I feel this is quite an ignorant attitude. I am affected by seeing people targeted and hounded regardless of whether or not I am 'saved' from this scenario by virtue of the fact that I am not an immigrant. In any case, I suspect I will be targeted anyway.

Today I found him looking up flights etc. I repeated that I do not feel comfortable going to the town and will book tickets with DD to his sisters place in North and wait for him there. It will be a shame if we do not see his brother as I have spoken to him on the phone and he is so keen to meet his niece but I do not understand why he cannot take the the train - he works full time and can see clearly with glasses - so suspect DP is using this as an excuse. DP states I am being ridiculous.

Just to be clear: I have no issue visiting areas which have few or no non-white residents, I do this all the time as I love traveling around the UK / Europe and many far flung places. My specific issue is the criminality and the fact that I feel I will be personally targeted in THIS particular town.


Bogeyface Tue 08-Jul-14 18:15:43

There are none so blind as those who will not see. He wants this to be a lovely family reunion with him introducing his wife and daughter to his brother and showing you around his old haunts. Lovely image, and because it means so much to him, he is refusing to acknowledge that it may not be safe for you.

Have you actually said "I am not going and neither is DD"? Or have you said what you have said here, that you are not comfortable with the idea? The second gives the impression that if he goes on at you long enough, or simply books the flights, you will go along with it.

I think you need to be clear. "I am happy for you to go but DD and I will not be joining you. The situation there is too volatile and our safety cannot be guaranteed, I will not risk DD or my safety. You can book as many flights as you like, but we will not be going".

Bogeyface Tue 08-Jul-14 18:16:43

Also, when was he last there? Have things deteriorated since he left? He may not realise how bad things are if they were ok when he left, perhaps he thinks that the press are exagerrating things.

Bogeyface Tue 08-Jul-14 18:17:05


caruthers Tue 08-Jul-14 18:19:59

YABU if you would have been white and posted this stating that the place had too many black people you would have been lambasted.

TheXxed Tue 08-Jul-14 18:22:30

If you are talking about Italy I remember reading about a significant increase in xenophobic attacks same in France. I will try and find the article.

It was talking about the murder of Nigerian sex workers and the kidnap of a Roma teenager. Tbh I would be worried when there is an economic downturn and you add the increase in migrants there is bound to be negative repercussions

TheXxed Tue 08-Jul-14 18:24:06

Caruthers If the OP was white and was going to visit Soweto my advice would be the same.

caruthers Tue 08-Jul-14 18:25:07

TheXxed Italy is NOT Soweto.

Bogeyface Tue 08-Jul-14 18:25:51

YABU if you would have been white and posted this stating that the place had too many black people you would have been lambasted

Might help if you read the OP properly.

she doesnt care how many white people are there, she is worried about the fact that non whites are routinely attacked in that town on the basis that they are either immigrants or sex workers (or both) which the locals dont want in the town. The attackers are the racists ones, not the OP!

This exactly the reason why we will never visit H's family in Jamaica. The area they live in would be dodgy for H and total no go area for me and DD. Its not racism, its fact.

TheXxed Tue 08-Jul-14 18:26:54

She is not frightened of visiting the entire country, just this small town.

South Africa is not just Soweto, cape town and sandton are great holiday destinations.

hesterton Tue 08-Jul-14 18:27:23

What are you talking about Caruthers.

OP, it sounds risky but also plain unpleasant. You won't be able to relax. Can you book a few nights with brother at a resort nearby?

maras2 Tue 08-Jul-14 18:27:26

If you feel even the tiniest bit worried for your and DC safety then go with you plan B.God knows what caruthers is on about.

caruthers Tue 08-Jul-14 18:32:45

Shakes head hmm

Joysmum Tue 08-Jul-14 18:33:09

If he's already told you about the problems in his home town, ask him what he thinks has changed that he can now confidently declare yours and your DD's safety?

TheSydenhamSet Tue 08-Jul-14 18:35:29

It's not puglia is it?

Bogeyface Tue 08-Jul-14 18:36:12

As we are all clearly so stupid Caruthers perhaps you could explain what the hell you are blithering on about?

caruthers Tue 08-Jul-14 18:43:18

Bogeyface Why can't you read?

dreamingbohemian Tue 08-Jul-14 18:50:12

So... non-white people are racist when they don't want to be attacked by racists? How stupid can you get?


If you could possibly do it as a day trip from somewhere in the middle of the country, where you feel comfortable staying over, that would be a compromise. But if you don't want to go, I think that's really understandable.

FraidyCat Tue 08-Jul-14 18:50:46

I know less than the OP about the place she's talking about, obviously. But I'm going to say she's unreasonable to be concerned for her safety. Given that there are actually some non-white people living there, and presumably not being all attacked every week, I don't think a visitor who is always accompanied by a white DH should be afraid. It will probably be clear from her and DH dress and demeanour that she's a tourist rather than an immigrant or prostitute. The usual reasons for hostility won't apply to her.

pluCaChange Tue 08-Jul-14 18:57:51

Can you call the local British consulate, to get "Official advice" on the local situation? Also ask specifically, how people of mixed race (your DD) are seen.

I admire your principled stand on not wanting to benefit from the local "boss's" "protection" (despite being scared of being UNprotected!).

SolomanDaisy Tue 08-Jul-14 19:06:29

I have struggled to understand what you're on about caruthers, but it is beyond me. Your response seems to be to a post saying someone doesn't want to go somewhere because there are too many white people. Perhaps you're on the wrong thread?

Thenapoleonofcrime Tue 08-Jul-14 19:09:27

Dressing like a tourist carries its own problem, in my husband's country Westerners are sometimes targeted for mugging for this reason- but this is also the same as in London.

It is so very hard to advise- on the one hand, I sometimes feel vulnerable as a visibly obvious British person there so I don't travel alone in taxis or wander around with a huge camera, I try to blend in. It does make me nervous. I don't feel nervous when my husband is there- are you really worried someone will attack you or insult you in his presence? I would think if he was there the whole time you would be fine on that front. Being stared at or commented, however, I would think is quite likely- and yes, this would put me off visiting quite a lot. I do get it a bit though, just for being foreign, as long as it is not hostile I don't mind- I get that you feel it would be hostile stares and you are probably not wrong.

Do you know anyone else non-white who has been to this region to ask about this? I can imagine you might be stared at in my husband's country in the villages as well tbhsad , cities are more cosmopolitan in general, or have students from around the world.

Ketchuphidestheburntbits Tue 08-Jul-14 19:20:37

OP, YANBU and should stick to the larger cities which are more cosmopolitan. Your DP should not be putting you and your DD at risk.

Oriunda Tue 08-Jul-14 19:31:00

I'd be surprised if it's Puglia, as that's where DH is from and we visit frequently. Lots of African beach vendors around on the coast and in town. Everyone is friendly and no tension. Puglia is also very touristy now.

Protection does exist, be it in a small way like the parking man who asks for a few coins while you legally park in a restaurant car park.

Am sure if you speak in an English accent you will be marked out as a tourist anyway. I'm regularly taken for being German/Polish (due to colouring) despite speaking Italian fluently.

caruthers Tue 08-Jul-14 19:34:55

I have struggled to understand what you're on about caruthers, but it is beyond me. Your response seems to be to a post saying someone doesn't want to go somewhere because there are too many white people. Perhaps you're on the wrong thread?

You really do need to read the OP again.

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