Illustration by Kalah Allen

I began to study combat after my now ex-boyfriend didn't even attempt to defend me during a conflict, which was the impetus for my realization that men are not inherently strong or brave—a naive belief I take responsibility for. I continued my study, inspired by a stalker who harasses me in the name of "romance." He has not demonstrated "enough of a threat" to successfully engage legal sanctions, despite having grabbed me several times and haunting me for years with creepy letters and internet stalking. Additionally, I recently discovered a man hiding in the bushes directly outside my window, watching me in my home, where I live alone. This is where you pass judgment: I'm probably crazy or slutty or dramatic, or deserving in some other way that women ask to be harassed. But the truth is that we live in a fucked-up culture where men get away with these things. I am done asking the system for help, because it has failed me repeatedly. If trouble finds me, I will meet it with intelligence and physical defense. I will not tolerate this nonsense another day. I am prepared for the next piece of shit.—Anonymous