For Girls Who Walk Home At Night

  1. Accept that the world will not always be kind to you.
  2. Allow yourself to be angry. Allow the rage to flow through your limbs, steal its way into your breath, strengthen the force of your steps.
  3. Stand outside your house in the dark. Learn to love the dark, the way it makes you a stranger. Befriend the creatures in the shadows, and if they cannot be befriended, make silent treaties and agreements to let the other be.
  4. Watch other women winning fights. Watch movies with women who punch people. Watch women compete in martial arts tournaments. Watch women’s sports, live if you can. Look at their faces. Look at their bodies. Love and admire their strength.
  5. Sign up for a class that teaches you to use your body as a weapon. Find a dojo. Go to a drop-in or free trial session, be in tune with your instincts and find a place where you feel safe training. Ask a friend who does martial arts to show you some moves in exchange for food or art or chores. Find some kind of competent teacher, and learn.
  6. Picture yourself hurting a man who would try and hurt you. That man in the car, staring at you — picture your fingers gouging his eyes, your kneecap in his groin, your arms throwing him to the ground. If you have played competitive sports, you already know this, visualization is key, your coaches will have told you, imagine yourself playing well. So picture yourself raining down hell on this nameless mouth-breathing man who would do harm to you.
  7. Do not blame yourself or other girls for the harm that has been done, is being done, will be done, to them and you. Do not blame yourself for not being strong enough, or them for drinking too much. Forgive yourself, and forgive the other girls, because it is not a crime to let down your guard. It is a crime to overpower someone with the intent of hurting them. Know the difference between an enemy and a sister.