Susan Hawthorne joined the Women's Liberation Movement in 1973. She joined the Collective of Melbourne's Rape Crisis Centre in 1974 and has been involved in many different areas including as an aerialist in the Performing Older Women's Circus, organising writers festivals and feminist conferences. She is the author of fifteen books: three fiction, nine poetry and three non-fiction. In Uganda in 2002, a woman said to her, "Be careful, in Uganda lesbians are tortured." This set her on the path to researching why she had not heard this before.  From 2003 onwards she has written numerous research papers, spoken on the subject of the torture of lesbians at conferences in India, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, South Korea, USA and Australia to almost no effect. In 2017, her novel Dark Matters was published. She hopes one day to reach a wider audience. Her poetry collections The Butterfly Effect (2005), Cow (2011) Lupa and Lamb (2014) and The Sacking of the Muses (2019) also deal with violence against lesbians and the importance of lesbian culture.