When I met Thadeaus, I was in an abusive relationship with a person who, aside from physical abuse, did everything he could to alienate me from my community. This person undermined every close relationship I had with anyone who wasn't him, both by restricting my ability to contact my friends and family, and more simply by reminding me as often as possible that the friends and family I had did not care about me and never could. Thadeaus was among the few friends I had during that awful time in my life who consistently loved me through an experience that was fraught with pain, and also with frustration to everyone around me. It is not easy to be a good friend to a person in an abusive relationship; it requires a willingness to sustain judgment of the abused, to never allow her/him to feel deficient or weak for the position s/he is in; it requires a nearly-superhuman patience with a person whose instincts may be incredibly contracted--emotionally and otherwise--as a result of patterns of misplaced anger s/he has experienced; it requires an ability to love so hard that you will do nearly anything to pull that person out of herself, to see her big life beyond the seemingly-unconquerable cruelty of her current position. Thadeaus was strong enough to be all these things for me, and more, for which I will always be grateful. He was my community during the terrifying and dangerous process of escaping my abuser.
Years later, I have met so-called radicals who leverage serious accusations against Thadeaus, all based on hearsay and a collective memory of rumors. Each time I have defended him against those accusations, I have been met with very simple, very troubling reactions: reflections that I am "the type of girl who Thadeaus targets," and that I "parrot the same words as the women who he has tricked before." These casual aggressions against both myself and Thadeaus enrage me, and are some of the very manifestations of oppressing women that motivate us to join radical communities, and to leave abusive relationships, in efforts to escape. They are some of the same tired, sexist tropes embodied by physical abusers too: the unwillingness to consider a person's known experience as better evidence than an uncorroborated rumor, the implication that some women are the "type" who cannot help but to fall prey to certain men, and -- perhaps more disturbing -- the practice of overpowering a person who is perceived to be weakened or vulnerable or alone, and being confident in that overpowering because you have the support of your fucked up community, be it patriarchal mainstream folks or patriarchal radicals, behind you. I can think of little that is more ignoble than this.
I support Thadeaus as he has and does support me.