Defend Feminists Campaign (DFC) exists to expose abuse towards feminists who suffer damage to their reputations, careers and who endure social ridicule, defamation, libel and threats of violence, and in some cases, actual physical harm due to expressing woman-centered feminist views. DFC also provides grassroots support to feminists in need of reprieve from abuse by offering persecuted feminists a group to turn to that will listen and brainstorm ideas for how best feminists can defend themselves and recover from misogynistic abuse online and in their communities and neighborhoods.
DFC seeks support for women’s speech regardless of supporters’ agreement or disagreement with their ideas. DFC works to win active support from groups of women and other oppressed populations, and artistic, environmental, antiwar, anti-racist, and labor groups.

“There’s really no such thing as ‘the voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard.” Arundhati Roy

Thistle Pettersen is a long-time environmental organizer and musician in Madison, Wisconsin who has been harassed, defamed, threatened, and ostracized from her community for expressing feminist beliefs. Read our fact sheet for a timeline of the harassment Thistle has faced.

What does Thistle believe? Like many other feminists, Thistle believes that gender is a patriarchal construct. She advocates for the right of women, as members of the oppressed sex, to have protected and respected safe spaces. She advocates for an acknowledgement of the problem of male violence in society, and the ability to talk about it.

If you support a Madison that respects diversity of opinions, and that can make a positive contribution to the movement for a just, democratic and egalitarian society, sign our support statement today

Why is Thistle Pettersen targeted?

Thistle publicly expressed her opinions on sex and gender, and interviewed well known feminist authors/journalists Julie Bindel, Meghan Murphy and Sheila Jeffreys on WORT 89.9 FM via the Access Hour. For more in-depth analysis of gender-critical feminism please see this 2015 article from Common Dreams  and this 2014 article in the New Yorker. Since then it has been nearly impossible to get gender-critical journalism published in left-leaning and progressive publications.

What has Thistle never done?

Thistle has never tried to get anyone fired from their place of employment, nor has she ever harassed anyone online or off. She has never attacked anyone either verbally or physically. Thistle has never threatened to punch, hit or do physical harm to anyone.

If you believe that misogynistic verbal assaults and harassment have no place in Madison, sign our support statement today.

What has been done to Thistle?

  • A local activist wrote a comment on Thistle’s Facebook page that reads, “I want to punch you in the fucking face, cunt bitch.”
  • She was called a “hateful bigoted piece of shit” in the lobby of WORT by a member of the feminist news team.
  • On social media she received a threat to hit her with a baseball bat, land her in the hospital, and break her guitar.
  • Local trans activists, including members of the Degenderettes, publicly called ThistleFART (Feminism Appropriating Reactionary Transphobe)
  • Thistle received a package of human feces in the mail.

If you believe that mailing a package of human feces to a feminist merely for saying her opinions has no place in Madison, sign our support statement today.

  • The Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice & Sustainability published a statement falsely accusing Thistle of “posting public hate statements via social media.”
  • Members of a local chapter of the “Degenderettes” and others demanded that her place of employment, a local childcare center, fire her from her job.
  • The Crystal Corner Bar terminated her regular music show with her band.
  • Common Ground Middleton canceled Thistle’s new music show, citing “transactivist” complaints.
  • Thistle is prohibited from performing at the Wil-Mar center, due to a “policy” against her performing on their stage.

If you believe that threats to people’s livelihoods have no place in Madison,sign our support statement today.

For a diary of Thistle’s harassment with dates, see our fact sheet