B.A.C.A. has the back of abused kids
Hobo, Pitbull and Flower stood in the basement of the Emmet County Law Center Monday presenting their way of empowering children to not be afraid of the world they live in.
The bikers who protect abused children presented to the Emmet County Sexual Assault Response Team (S.A.R.T.) team before their regular staffing of cases. ?
Using code names to preserve their anonymity, Hobo made it clear confidentiality is very important to Bikers Against Child Abuse. “We don’t talk about our kids,”?Hobo said.
Keepers of the Children
Calling themselves “Keepers of the Children,”?members of B.A.C.A. answer the call for help from a parent or primary caregiver of a child who has experienced abuse.
At the initial visit, the whole chapter rides to the child, park their motorcycles, and introduce themselves. With a short ceremony, the child is “adopted” into the B.A.C.A. family.
The members of B.A.C.A., following the lead of the organization’s board and the two members assigned as the child’s primary contacts, stand ready to support the child for as long as the child needs them.
“We have members who were once B.A.C.A. kids,”?Hobo said.
The children who become “family”?to the members of B.A.C.A. have already experienced horrific acts, which have resulted in charges and a court case.
The members of B.A.C.A. empower children by surrounding them with love, presence and strength.
“We have one mission,”?organization President Hobo said. “We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established united organization.”
Empowering children after abuse
B.A.C.A., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, says further in its mission statement, “We desire to send a clear message to all who are involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand ready to shield these children from further abuse.”?
Hobo, Flower and Pitbull have joined the biker members of Iowa Chapter #5 to attend court and parole hearings in which the children are called to testify against the person who abused them. The organization raises funds for therapy, and for the child’s unique needs that will help them be empowered.
“We serve as an obstacle blocking further harm to the child,”?Hobo said.
B.A.C.A. was founded by a man who goes by Chief, a licensed social worker and play therapist who saw children make incremental progress in therapy as they recovered from physical, sexual, emotional abuse or from being put into child pornography.
“Then their perpetrator would have access to the child, through a phone call or coming to the home, and the therapy would be undone,”?Chief said.
Frustrated, Chief talked to some of his biker friends about ways to stand with and empower children who have been abused.
When empowered, the child “can tell the truth about what happened to them. The average pedophile molests over 400 children in a lifetime,”?before they are kept locked up or pass away,?Hobo said.
Standing against abuse: the statistics
B.A.C.A. cites the National Center for Victims of Crime statistic, which states one in three girls, and one in five boys has been sexually assaulted, most commonly between the ages of 7 and 13.
A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal, also according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Being part of B.A.C.A.
Hobo said new members are welcome. “They need to be committed, passionate, and crazy about kids,”?Hobo said.
Members must have no record of crime against a child nor of domestic abuse. “New people ride with us and hang out with us [at meetings the third Sunday of each month at Spirit Life Fellowship Church in Spirit Lake] for about a year. We send in their fingerprints and background, which unfortunately takes three to four months,”?Hobo said.
A year after the clean background check comes back, a full member can interact with children or become the child’s “primary,”?ideally a male-female team of non-relatives from the group who stays in contact with the child after the initial visit, including home and school visits, accessing the group’s therapy fund for the child’s empowerment needs, and making sure the child has a crowd of friends at any court dates.
B.A.C.A has documented changes in the behaviors of the children they support.
Improved self confidence;
diminished regressive behavior;
Increased feeling of safety;
reduced feeling of guilt;
decreaesd negative behaviors.
B.A.C.A.’s informational materials state they have observed that wounded children having the benefit of a B.A.C.A. presence in their lives are far more likely to disclose their abuse.
B.A.C.A. has, in the past, provided a perimeter around the dwelling of an abused child if the child or home is threatened by the abuser.
“We will put out the call to all our members to get to where we are as soon as possible, and if we run out of people, we call Des Moines or Sioux Falls [B.A.C.A. chapters] to back us up. We’d do the same for them,”?Hobo said.
About the B.A.C.A. seal:?
Red represents the “blood shed by wounded children”
White represents the “innocence of the children”
Black represents the “dark times the child goes through”
The fist represents “our commitment to stop child abuse”
The skull and crossbones is the symbol to the “death to child abuse”
The chains represent “our united organization”
How to get help or help out
Primary caregivers of a child in need, as well as potential donors or members can contact the local B.A.C.A. chapter at 712-299-2525, the helpline at 507-564-2131, and firstname.lastname@example.org.