“No Child Deserves To Live In Fear.” That is the guiding principle behind Bikers Against Child Abuse, a non-profit organization that protects children who have experienced abuse and helps provide a network of support and strength to help them recover. Their video explains the rest.
BACA has a Mission, a modus operandi, two levels of Intervention, an extensive Creed adapted from “The Fellowship of the Unashamed” and they also accompany victims to court, when possible. They refer to themselves as a family, and welcome the children, as they do one another, with vests and a name. Their mandate is to protect victimized youth from further harm, while at the same time working towards empowering them enough to feel the strength within them and live happily and independently.
I am a cynic. Images of burly bikers with bandanas riding cruisers, wearing leather vests, eyes often hidden behind glasses, and tattooed arms crossed, made me wary—but that’s my problem. Child abusers are, above all else, bullies and cowards. They abuse their power to take what they want. Their victims learn fear, anxiety, shame, and mistrust. Although a therapeutic approach that involves caring, love, and understanding might help reform the perpetrator, protection of the victims must come first. Before either can begin to heal, the abuse must stop, by any means necessary. That’s where BACA comes in.
Each and every member of BACA undergoes a rigorous background check and receives “special instructions from the Licensed Mental Health Professional” to ensure that they are positive, safe role models, and to ensure that they will understand enough of the psychological situation of their charges so as to be most effective. Participants are paired with two members who are closest to them geographically so that “Anytime the child feels scared and feels the need for the presence of his new B.A.C.A. family, the child may call upon these bikers to go to the child’s house and provide the necessary reassurance to feel safe and protected.”
The video is powerful. One young woman and her mother describe their experience and how they came to be matched with BACA, from the child’s disclosure up to the present day. Members explain the organization and what it provides, as well as what it means to them to be members. Interspersed with these interviews is what they do, played out: a nervous child is introduced to the BACA family and their two “primary contacts.” Later, a more confident child enters the courtroom flanked by an intimidating physical presence as they one-by-one fill the seats in solidarity and strength.
The members of BACA intend to instill fear, but where they feel it belongs. When the judge asks the child: “Are you scared?”, he answers, “No.” When she asks again, he points directly at the perpetrator saying, “My friends are a lot scarier than he is.”
Child abuse is not okay. That’s pretty clear. If a group of bikers is dedicated to and successful at alleviating the pain of victims, and helping them regain the courage and confidence to be happy, healthy members of society, then I guess they should. By any means necessary.