The Backlash that comes with Supporting a Survivor #MeToo

Last winter in February 2018, anti wolf legislators read Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s reblogged account of the sexual assault of Julie by Rod Coronado the founder of Wolf Patrol. The account of the sexual assault accusations were already widely available since 2016 on Earth First. The anti wolf legislators used my name in a letter sent to the legislature without my approval. I want to make it perfectly clear that I never sided with any anti wolf legislators. Yet, these anti wolf legislators used my public support of Julie, a survivor, in a letter to the legislature.

Now I find myself on the receiving end of backlash for my support of Julie, a young woman, a biologist, conservationist, dedicated wolf advocate, and survivor of a sexual assault by Rod Coronado. At the time of the sexual assault Julie, in her twenties, was a member of Rod Coronado’s Wolf Patrol, and Coronado was in his late forties. Coronado is the founder and leader of Wolf Patrol that operates out of northern Wisconsin.

The above photograph was written by anti wolf legislators that used my name without my permission.

#MeToo movement is about believing survivors. We need to change the wolf movement, the misogyny, the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. Today it is more common than before to find woman leading the wolf advocacy cause. It’s time for positive change! And now it’s time to clean up the misogyny that exists within the Wisconsin wolf movement. Misogyny has been a plaque that infects the movement; it’s growing and has been unchallenged since 2013.

The reality of the effects of misogyny in Wisconsin came to a head in 2014 with the arrival of a group called Wolf Patrol headed by Rod Coronado.

Two National articles have just surfaced about holding those accountable for sexual assault. The Intercept, The FBI Tried to Use the #MeToo Movement to Pressure an Environmental Activist into Becoming an Informant. Julie never informed! JULIE HENRY WAS jogging when she got the call from the FBI. She didn’t recognize the number, which had a Washington state area code, but she answered anyway. The FBI agent identified herself as Kera O’Reilly, and said that Henry wasn’t in any trouble. O’Reilly was there to help.

“…Nearly four years ago, Henry says, in the midst of a campaign to monitor a state-sanctioned wolf hunt with Coronado’s organization Wolf Patrol, in a remote area outside Yellowstone National Park, Coronado sexually assaulted her. Henry says she didn’t even think about calling law enforcement. Activists aren’t supposed to talk to cops, and definitely not to FBI agents. For months, she stayed silent. But then, after agonizing over the decision, she participated in an alternative attempt at accountability — she described Coronado’s assault in an email posted to a closed activist listserv and later published the details publicly in the activist Earth First! Journal.”

The second article appeared in Earth Island Journal. Earth Island Journal by KIERA ANDERSON KITTY STRYKER Photo by Laura Borealis. “No Compromise – Our movement needs to do a better job of addressing sexual violence and misogyny within its ranks. …Reports about Coronado’s sexual misconduct first surfaced in the summer of 2014, when a group of activists started raising concerns about his reportedly abusive behavior. We’ve reviewed emails sent between July 2014 and February 2015, which claim Coronado had been violent towards an ex-partner. The emails also assert that Coronado had been predatory towards younger women in EF!.”

“Wendy, loosely affiliated with EF! between 2005-2014, told us via email about her involvement in bringing Coronado’s behavior to light that year. She, and two EF! activists, Panagioti and Toby, tried several times to get Coronado to initiate an accountability process. Coronado appeared open to this at times, but never followed through. While the trio were trying to figure out the best course of action, in November 2014, Coronado apparently sexually assaulted a younger Wolf Patrol member named Julie.”

“When Wendy heard about Julie’s experience, she felt “a stark clarity of Fuck, we made the wrong choice.” She says the three of them had failed to grasp the urgency of the situation, particularly the risks they took by waiting to alert the broader community about him…”

Earth First activists were already seeking to hold Rod Coronado accountable for violence against a former partner before he arrived in Wisconsin the summer of 2014.

I’ve been a volunteer in Wisconsin’s wolf recovery since the year 2000. Then in 2012 became political beginning with educating and advocating for Wisconsin’s Gray wolf because I was appalled Legislators mandated a wolf hunt on them. I wasn’t skilled at politics, especially when it became the dirty kind coming from your own side. But I learned real fast just how dirty it can get, and it’s said experience is the best teacher. As the wolf hunts began advocates came out of the woodwork to fight the hunts. I connected with them hoping to stop the wolf hunts. My first bad experience within advocacy began with an advocate lying to me, and shortly afterwards I began to experience misogyny within the cause. One misogynistic male would attack female leaders within the movement if they challenged him. Female advocates have confronted him about pulling the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting wolf advocates, and so they asked for proof of his work. His response is to publicly post slurs and insults on his wolf advocacy page about females who attempt to hold him accountable. Its never men. It’s always females. This has been an ongoing misogynistic tactic by him since 2013, and I found myself on the receiving end of his public attacks for attempting to hold him accountable as well.

During all of this I kept on working to bring attention to the barbaric use of dogs to hunt wolves, and kept the pressure up on the WDNR to actively monitor wolf hunting with dogs during the dark years. I garnered a lot of press especially from Wisconsin Public Radio. My next experience with a misogynistic male began in 2014.

By the time I met Coronado in the fall of 2014 he had already been called out for violence against a partner from Earth First activists. Had I known this was happening would not have agreed to work with him.

In 2014 (the year of the last wolf hunt) Rod Coronado Contacted me and wanted to work together to document the wolf hunt (I suspect it was because of all the press I was getting at the time). I agreed to work with him, and that’s when I met Julie that October at the Wolf Patrol camp in northern Wisconsin.

About the photograph: Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin blogger Rachel Tilseth and Rod Coronado walk down a dirt road in Douglas county Wisconsin in October 2014. Photo Credit Ryan Mathews.

Then, that following December I hosted wolf patrol at a friend’s house. Julie was absent from this patrol, and when I asked if she would be joining us the Wolf Patrol members said they didn’t know where she was. I thought their response was odd. I was already experiencing misogyny from Coronado, especially during any communication with him. He regularly ignored my phone calls, or emails, then would communicate when he needed something from me. I began to suspect he used my name, Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, to gain a foothold in Wisconsin.

Later that fall according to Julie’s statement on Earth First News wire Coronado sexually assaulted her while in Montana on a patrol.

It was in November 2015 When I first heard the news, it came first through Facebook, then on Earth First news wire that Rod Coronado had sexually assaulted Julie. I immediately pulled away from working with Coronado, and wanted to keep my distance until I knew more. As more interviews and the Earth First news wire came forward supporting Julie, that’s when I went Public stating I wouldn’t work with Coronado anymore and why.

Shortly after I went public with why I wouldn’t work with Coronado my Twitter profile was hacked and filled with revenge porn in an attempt to silence me.

More backlash for supporting Julie, a survivor, came through my twitter profile being hacked. My friends kept asking me why I blocked them on Twitter, and that’s when I discovered my account was hacked into. I checked my lists and discovered a hacker had replaced my following with porn profiles. The hacker also blocked all my wolf advocacy friends proving it was a personal attack. Of course I was shocked, shamed and embarrassed which is what the hacker/hackers wanted. I was suspicious it could be coming from Coronado or his followers as a way to silence me. It didn’t silence me.

Revenge porn does not only try to shame women – it tries to silence them too.

Last winter in February 2018, anti wolf legislators read my blog about the assault accusations (it was common knowledge already being distributed on Earth First news wire). These legislators began to use the sexual assault to get rid of Coronado and they used my name in a letter sent to the legislature without my approval. I never sided with any anti wolf legislators. Yet, these anti wolf legislators used my public support of Julie causing even more backlash. As a result of the legislator’s letter I was called the biggest turncoat in Wisconsin wolf advocacy by one of Wolf Patrol’s members in a comment on a Facebook post, and was called a narcissist. I would without a doubt call the following quote about me that was posted on a public Facebook page as misogynistic: “…of rearing their ugly head(s) and randomly attacking other advocates with no rhyme or reason behind those attacks.” All of these remarks posted on public Facebook pages are meant to silence me, to take away my voice, and destroy my credibility.

“Other silencings take place in smaller ways: the people harassed and badgered into silence online, talked over and cut out in conversation, belittled, humiliated, dismissed.” ~Rebecca Solnit

I’m on the receiving end of backlash for my support of Julie, a young woman, a dedicated wolf advocate, and survivor of a sexual assault by Rod Coronado. Coronado the leader of Wolf Patrol at that time and almost 20 years older than Julie.

I stand by Julie and I believe her.

A self-portrait Julie Henry took after she was assaulted, she says, in November 2014 near the northern border of Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Courtesy of Julie Henry and The Intercept

The MeToo movement is about believing survivors and facing the problem that exists in our culture. It’s not my brand of advocacy to harm others, lie to others, etc… for me it’s always been about the Gray wolf since I started in the year 2000.

A year ago a Wisconsin wolf biologist sent me a message asking why advocates hated me so much? The biologist told me advocates were openly slamming me.

When the behavior in the movement began I was given advise to ignore it, ignore them, keep fighting to protect wolves and keep working to stop wolf hounding. I was hesitant in taking that advice because of the young woman in the movement, such as Julie. They did not deserve to be used and abused. Those who prey on younger, vulnerable females within the movement must be held accountable. I believe the wolf advocacy movement in Wisconsin can do better by not allowing the misogyny to continue. The one common thread in the movement is protecting the gray wolf. Protecting both Gray wolves, and the people must be a priority.

When Rod Coronado arrived in Wisconsin in 2014 to form Wolf Patrol he was already being confronted by female activists for his violent behavior towards an ex partner. In the end I never sided with anti wolf legislators. I’m on the side of the survivors.

“…think of misogyny as a kind of enforcement strategy; it’s not the patriarchy itself but the thing that preserves the patriarchy.”

One thought on “The Backlash that comes with Supporting a Survivor #MeToo

  1. Reblogged this on Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin and commented:

    Last winter in February 2018, anti wolf legislators read Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s reblogged account of the sexual assault (it was common knowledge already being distributed on Earth First news wire) of Julie a member of Rod Coronado’s Wolf Patrol. These legislators began to use the sexual assault to get rid of Coronado and they used my name in a letter sent to the legislature without my approval. I never sided with any anti wolf legislators against Wolf Patrol. Yet, these anti wolf legislators, who I wouldn’t doubt are misogynistic themselves, used my public support of Julie against Coronado, causing backlash within the movement. Misogyny is the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. Now I’m on the receiving end of backlash for my support of Julie, a young woman, a biologist, conservationist, dedicated wolf advocate, and survivor of a sexual assault by Rod Coronado. Coronado the leader of Wolf Patrol at that time and almost 20 years older than Julie. I stand by Julie and I believe her.

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