This Child Abuse Survivor Has Scary Bikers To Thank For Her Recovery
Bikers Against Child Abuse, or BACA, is an international organization that regroups bikers who are committed to protecting children against their abusers.
There’s no crime that upsets society more than abuse against our most vulnerable people –-children. Child abuse is the most heinous and vile of acts; that’s why it unifies people from all different backgrounds when it comes to fighting against it.
An unlikely but no less impactful advocate for children who are victims of abuse is BACA, an international organization which stands for Bikers Against Child Abuse.
The organization regroups bikers who have joined the fight against child abusers. This is how they protect the victims.
Rhythm, a former BACA child, has the bikers to thank for helping her move past the abuse she endured as a child. Before the terror started, Rhythm led a happy, normal childhood.
“Rhythm was very carefree. She was loving and fun,” her mother said.
Her mother was the first one she told her story too. “She came in and said ‘I’m being abused and I want you to know I don’t want it to happen anymore. I want it to stop’,” Rhythm’s mother recalls.
While her mother believed her, it was not true of everyone in her family. “My extended family didn’t think my story was true. They thought a lot of it was made up. “
Of course, being a child and finding the strength to denounce abuse is already a daunting task. Her extended family’s comments show how easy it is to invalidate or downplay a child’s experience. Even if her mother was on her side, she was facing a tremendous challenge.
I had night terrors. I was seeing two or three counsellors. That was partially why my counsellor referred me to BACA.Rhythm
The organization’s sole purpose is to make kids feel safe
The nonprofit organization was started over 20 years ago by John Paul Lily who is simply known within BACA as “Chief”. Lily saw a tremendous amount of abuse and suffering in the world and thought the first and most effective step towards helping and building these kids back up was to make them feel confident again.
So, Chief organized a band of his friends –-in this case, a group of burly bikers to step up and do exactly that by forming an unbreakable pact with these kids.
Every biker who wants to join BACA has to go through a thorough vetting process, which takes at least a year. Since the commitment is 24/7, every single member is fully committed to the protection of the child.
Level 1: Getting introduced to their protectors
Bikers who are part of BACA have various levels of operation in ensuring that these kids feel safe. The first level involves meeting up with the child. Once they meet with their protege, the latter will become part of this protected pack where they feel comfortable and safe.
“Leading up to the night of my level 1, I was kind of like, not sure what to expect. All I knew is that there was gonna be a lot of bikers at my house in the morning,” Rhythm said.
The child will then get their own biker jacket, a BACA patch and the phone numbers of their new biker friends that they can call 24/7. They also take pictures with the bikers, which they will get to keep as a reminder that they have friends looking out for them.
The level one is probably something that is the most empowering part of what we do because we see a huge change in these children. After about 40-45 minutes, those kids are interacting with our members. In some areas, they go for rides with the membership. They take them on a short ride around the neighborhood.Pipes, International President
On the second level of operation, the bikers will do “awareness rides” around the neighborhood to make people aware of the presence of abusers. They will also contact law enforcement if they detect suspicious activity.
Level 3 intervention: the courthouse
A big part of stopping an abuser is to make sure they face the repercussions of their actions and go to jail. However, getting to that point is not always easy, since a lot of it depends on the child feeling safe enough to denounce the abuser.
Kids can speak out against those who’ve hurt them but they can only do so if they feel safe and confident, which is exactly where BACA steps in.Positive Thoughts for The Ron Project
It can seem even more impossible for them to go to a courthouse and testify in front of a judge and jury. That’s where the Bikers step in: they will be there to back them up 100%, so long as the judge will allow it.
Helping the vulnerable is for everyone
No child should have to live in fear. Those who have unfortunately gone through abuse need to rebuild the strength and confidence to take them through the horrible experience and into the next, hopefully happier phase of their lives.
Seeing this group of adults, bikers being so kind, not even bringing up what happened to me…just saying ‘hey, we’re here for you, we’re your new family,’ it meant the world to me.Rhythm
And after her BACA experience, Rhythm “grew as an individual.” She joined clubs in high school and became captain of the varsity team.
It can take someone pretty intimidating to intimidate an abuser and a bunch of burly bikers can be exactly what it takes to make a child feel safe. It also teaches kids to not judge a book by a cover. These “scary” bikers turn out to be the least scary guys of all…especially if they are standing behind you!
And the effect is lifechanging.
You see them after we get involved and their self-confidence is beaming and they are doing better at school. And you know, they’re not afraid anymore. And that’s what we do, we give them their life back.Tree, International President 2006-2008
If BACA can teach us anything, it’s that we can all take action when it comes to standing behind children who are victims of abuse, no matter our background or what we look like.
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