When it comes to biker gangs, the generalized view most of society has for them are similar to representations in movies like Mad Max or The Road Warrior. It seems that everyone, especially those in the media, like to portray them as harbingers of anarchy, human plagues of lawlessness, and deliverers of disorder. For some biker gangs, that is true, such as the Hell’s Angels. Most people wouldn’t want to be around such a group, especially if one happens to be a parent. Such a rowdy squabble of misfits would surely be a bad influence for their kids, right?
For one biker gang, the outcome around children is quite different, and to be fair, absolutely jaw-dropping! They ride into town in search of a specific child… and make that child feel safe! That’s right! The members of this biker gang are guardian angels to children, specifically those who have suffered abuse.
According to Today Christian, Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) have made it their mission to “create a safer environment for children.” Along with the assistance of state and local officers, they help protect children by providing emotional and physical support. All the children they take care of are victims of abuse of some kind. Biker gang members aid in keeping the children safe from any additional abuse without resorting to violence. Instead, they are willing to be an obstacle that prevents a child from being dealt with any more abuse than they already had.
AZCentral also reported on BACA, providing specific details about the non-profit group. Originally, the group began with John Paul Lilly, a licensed clinical social worker, play therapist, and professor at Brigham Young University. In 1995, he was working with an 8-year-old boy who was so afraid that he wouldn’t leave the house, even in July when other kids were out. Apparently the boy would do well in therapy, but his abusers would show up at his house at night or leave threatening notes on his bike. As a result, the boy would remain terrified.
John Paul Lilly was frustrated at what was happening because on a personal level, and he knew how the boy felt. Lilly was also abused when he was young, but found solace when he was 8. At the time, he was befriended by some bikers who gave him the road name “Chief.” It was with them he felt secure. As a result of his past experiences, Lilly instinctively turned to bikers to help the boy out, and they were more than happy to oblige. This was verified in Lilly’s statement along with why bikers are willing to help.
“Bikers have a soft spot for kids. I couldn’t quote you a figure, but I know that a lot of bikers had been abused as kids. When they see a chance to step in and release some of their own demons, they have no problem standing up for a child. It was just such a natural fit.”
On the very first ride, there were 27 motorcycles carrying about 40 bikers. By that afternoon, the boy who was frightened to leave his house was now outside riding his own bike while wearing a vest with a Harley Davidson patch on it.
Since then, BACA has helped about 1,200 children. Their work is cited in numerous academic and scholarly journals, such as Play Therapy. John Paul Lilly even gives speeches across the nation at child welfare conferences and such. He even received an invitation to the White House in 2005 from first lady Laura Bush to participate in the “Helping America’s Youth” initiative. To this day, BACA still helps children who suffered abuse.
Now that you’ve read the article on Bikers Against Child Abuse, what are your views about them? Do you know any child who would benefit from this group’s assistance?
[Image via Bing]