In Hollywood movies, bikers are often portrayed as macho, scary goons in leather jackets and studded boots whose mere sound of bikes would drive everyone to cower in safety. But not these guys – these guys are out to make people feel safe, especially children who are victims of abuse.
Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. is a non-profit group of motorcycle riders whose sole objective is to “protect and secure a child’s basic right to a happy childhood”. Members pledge their emotional and physical support so that the young ones can feel safe even after being terrorized by different child-related crimes such as rape, molestation, and physical abuse.
Take the case of this fragile little girl from Arizona who was abused by a relative. The offender has left the state, living freely while the victim endures trauma from the assault. She gets nightmares, with memories of the crime haunting her both in sleep and even when she’s awake. In the comfort of her own home, even in the presence of her parents, she does not feel safe. BACA members live by the motto, “No child deserves to live in fear” – it is emblazoned on their leather jackets along with the group’s tough fist logo.
What the bikers do for the victim is to stand guard and make her feel that she can live a normal life because she is protected. If the child offender reaches out to her again, they are there to guard her. If she feels scared to go to school or hang out with her playmates, they will escort her to where she has to be and where she wants to go. When the time comes that she has to testify against her offender, they will be in the courtroom with her to provide strength and support so that when she feels intimidated to give her testimony, she can look at them and feel that she is protected.
The victim becomes one with the bikers. To welcome her to the group, Pipes hands her her own BACA jacket – a denim one – with her road name emblemed on it. “Rhythm” – she’ll go by that road name now – to identify the little girl who loves music.
Each of the members of BACA volunteers their time and resources to fulfill their advocacy. They don’t get paid, don’t get reimbursed. The only payback they expect from what they do is a safer world for children. What does it take to join Bikers Against Child Abuse? Aside from owning a bike, these riders undergo a thorough background check where they are screened for child-related offenses. After having passed, they undergo training from a licensed mental-health professional.
Bikers dream of a time when children are no longer afraid of their violators, “Because my friends are scarier than he is,” as their 8-year old friend put it.