This website comes with a standing *Trigger Warning,* as it deals with issues of rape, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual violence and misconduct. It also extensively discusses rape culture and the spectrum of sexual violence.
(Please read the disclaimer about the use of gender terms and pronouns.)
A small group of survivors in the Steampunk community created The Order of the White Feather (OWF) . Led by Steampunk author O. M. Grey, a survivor of multiple accounts of sexual violence who endured being shunned by her community while watching them embrace her attacker, the members of OWF strive to create a community that is safe for survivors of sexual violence in its many forms while holding the perpetrators socially accountable.
By wearing a white feather incorporated into Cosplay, our outfits, or even in our daily wear, we aim to show survivors and victims of assault that we are a safe haven for them. By wearing a white feather, we take this vow: We will believe you. We will listen to you. We will support you.
Simultaneously, any known perpetrator of sexual harassment, assault, or rape in the community will be known throughout our ranks. We understand that only 3% of rapists ever see even a single day in jail. We understand that just because there isn’t a conviction, an arrest, or even a police report, the victim has been traumatized by events perpetrated by a specific individual or individuals. Since the rate of false accusations run about 1.5% (lower in a recent study), we believe the victim. Period.
This is not about jail. This is not about punishment. This is not about trials and rape kits and police reports, although we will support and even accompany the victim to make a report if requested, this is about social responsibility.
The Order of the White Feather chooses to create a community free of sexual violence in all its forms, and to do so, we must no longer tolerate sexual violence. The accused perpetrator will either accept responsibility and go through an accountability process or s/he will no longer be welcome in our community. This is part of a major cultural shift.
Our current culture handles accusations of sexual violence the other way around. Questions such as “did you fight back” or “why were you there in the first place” flood victims’ ears and further shame them into silence. Phrases like “he’d never do that” or “we shared a pint, and he’s a good guy” and “things probably just got out of hand” protect the perpetrators and renew their social license to continue. Our current culture habitually doubts and blames the victim. They believe and protect the accused.
We are determined to turn that around.
We will never be silent again.