There was a fair amount of serendipity involved in arriving at my fascinating discovery of a group of unlikely heroes we ought to get behind in addition to feeling inspired by their crusade. It happened in the most unusual way while I was thumbing through one of my previous issues of a beauty and lifestyle magazine over the weekend. I was flipping for ‘25 quick fixes to get my summer glow on’ but instead found myself mesmerised by a story on a heroic gang of gallant motorbikers. I probably would’ve expected to find an article like that in my stack of 2 Wheels but there it was instead, poking out of a most unlikely space, a most wonderful serendipitous oddity after a John Freida hair beauty ad in my November issue of Marie Claire. Since my last post on 7 Reasons To Be A Two-Wheeled Warrior, I’ve grown a newfound respect for the fearlessness of bikers that just soared to brand new heights for this particular creed who are showing the world how not to judge a book (or magazine!) by its cover.
Baca, which stands for Bikers Against Child Abuse, is a fast growing US-originated non-profit organisation of active biker members waging war against child abuse with worldwide chapters today in the United States, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland and Canada. Their logo, a clenched front-facing fist with a skull head on the tip of a knuckle, and the letters ‘B.A.C.A.’ suggests ‘Back off. We dare you to mess with the kids in our protective custody’. Their motto is proudly stitched into their black leather vests, printed on their tee-shirts and the bandanas perched on their heads. That motto speaks clearly and simply, ‘No child deserves to live in fear’.
In Australia alone, there are branches or chapters of Baca located in 11 locations in South Australia,Victoria, Desert City, Westen Australia, New South Wales, NSW North Coast, Newcastle, Northern Rivers, Queensland, Wide Bay and Port City.
First founded in Utah by a licensed clinical psychologist who was also a registered play therapist and part-time professor from Brigham University, ‘Chief’ Lilly, a motorbike enthusiast himself, had spent over twenty years in the treatment of abused children. Through his experience and work he found that existing bureaucracy often could not reach gaps where some kids could not qualify for therapy funding due to legislative shortfalls, as in the case of kids too terrified or traumatised to testify yet needing to do so to form sufficient evidence required by law for funding their own treatments. The reality was that even court involvement in the form of issued protective orders failed in many cases to adequately protect abused children from further suffering and repeated abuse from perpetuators.
What impressed me most is that BACA members are bikers from the motorbike-riding community who participate in this effort on a fully voluntary basis. They are not reimbursed for fuel, wearing out of their motorbikes or the many times they could’ve been called to answer help required by affected children in their voluntary protective custody, including the possibility of taking time off from their full-time jobs or family lives.
The goals of BACA is mainly two-fold: to ensure the safety of the children and helping kids testify or report abuse without fear of repercussions so that they will be eligible for funding for their much needed therapy treatments. BACA bikers make a pledge to the kids who are welcomed into the BACA family to be there for them, whether it means to accompany the children to school or to court proceedings where they may need reassurance that they shall remain safe from the abusers who have hurt them, and that they shall always be surrounded by big brothers and sisters who will always be ‘their extended family’. Bikers are a closely knitted community with ‘brotherhood’ and family values that form not just their way of living but a sworn code of conduct for life.
In South Australia for example, BACA is recognised by the SA Police and offers 24-hour care to children, teens or families who would otherwise be living in fear but are now able to seek assistance after a report of abuse has been lodged.
Often misunderstood for being vigilantes, SA’s BACA president code-named ‘Krash’, was quick to clarify that while they don’t advocate violence, they will do ‘what it takes’ to keep a child ‘safe’ in their care. It means whoever has the gall to hurt the children must first get past this mean-looking brood of bikers who will stand up to them on behalf of the hurt children or families.
“We allow them to stand up, have their say and take the steps required to go from being a victim to being a survivor(and) to make these kids feel like somebody gives a damn about them.” The bikers will even camp outside their kids’ front yard for a couple of nights in order for them to feel safe. It is not unusual for the BACA brotherhood to organise a neighbourhood ride to display their solidarity and a clear message to perpetrators to ‘Back Off’. The children or teenagers under their caring custody are given little denim jackets, or vests with BACA ‘patches’ that resemble the leather ones donned by their BACA protectors. They are also assigned their special ‘primaries’, bikers whom the kids may call anytime, day or night, if they are scared or need help to feel reassured.
With such intimate round-the-clock personal access, how do we ascertain no criminals will have access to membership? All BACA members need a police clearance and a period of probation before being conferred official membership. These extensive background checks can sometimes turn up a previous arrest or a stint in jail, but so long as the crime doesn’t constitute any abuse, domestic violence or crime involving children or similar, bikers are cleared and welcome to join BACA as volunteers (http://bacaworld.org).
Not only has the stereotype of bikers shifted culturally, the Oxford English Dictionary has even had to revise its current definition of bikers, since it is no longer politically correct in citing bikers as ‘long-haired’, ‘hairy’, ‘clad in dirty denims’, ‘member of a gang’, ‘weapon-welding outlaws’ or the many similar unflattering synonyms used to commonly describe them.
Likewise, on discovering that there are such admirable bands of biking brotherhood, many who are worthy to be counted as chivalrous heroes amongst them, my view of bikers who fit those synonyms have undergone a paradigm shift. Biker nicknames like Cannon, Hulk, Fat Daddy and Hippie aren’t what people think they stand for. These are real road names of some bikers from BACA, and I think these names are definitely necessary to embody the ‘tough guy’ image we don’t wish to dilute to perpetrators of violence against children.
The world needs these superheroes on motorbikes. If you have any tough guy instincts hidden anywhere in you, I pray that you’ll let your motorbike seek it, nurture it and feed it with your superhero tendencies and then you could join the admirable creed at BACA and unleash your superhero courage on an unsuspecting cowardly abuser by making it your life’s mission to protect fragile child victims from violence they don’t ever deserve.
I’m sure while I cannot speak for the criminal types who still do exist in the biker gang circles (in which case, we should definitely turn the other way and flee as fast as we can in the opposite direction for our own safety), it’s perhaps time to re-evaluate our propensity to judge or have irrational fears on sighting bikers who fit all the menacing physical stereotypes: big, burly, heavily tattooed, pierced, unshaven, hairy bikers surging down in full throttle as a hunting pack. They could be in mass patrol mode to escort child-abuse victims to and from courts, or standing vigil over foster homes where a clear message is sent: Every child deserves to feel safe.
Whether you’re inspired to join the growing army of two-wheeled highway warriors to stand for a cause you believe in or perhaps just a motorbike enthusiast looking for some chrome action, we at 360 Finance pledge to ‘keep you safe’ from a raw motorbike finance deal. We’re here to assist you in finding the best bike financing package as you roar into the rugged tracks with your heroic pack.