Motorcycles. Leather jackets. Bandanas.
These are the images that often come to mind when you think of bikers. But some are more than just avid motorcyclists.
They're child advocates.
"Growing up this wasn't around. It's probably something that would have benefited me. Not a great childhood home," says "Skunk", who asked to use his road name rather than his real name to protect his identity from child abuse perpetrators.
Bikers Against Child Abuse, or BACA for short, is a group that works to empower abused children. The group also attends community events like Kids Day Out to raise awareness of their organization.
A spokesperson for Williams County Victim Services says the department does not work directly with BACA but they do provide information about the group to the parents or guardians of abused children. The department says the experience has been a positive one and the presence of bikers at court proceedings seems to provide children with a sense of security.
My first court case was 13 years ago and I still remember every word of it," says "D", who also asked not to use his real name.
As of last week, the Williston Police Department had received 76 reports of child abuseso far this year compared to 29 by this time last year.
"Unfortunately, this is something that doesn't go away," says "D".
And for both men, the cause has personal meaning. Both say they survived abuse in their own childhoods.
"It's a really good factor to have because you kind of have an idea of what you're walking into," says "D".
Having experienced abuse firsthand, the bikers want the children they work with to feel they have someone to turn to.
"That's the biggest payoff for me. For them to no longer be afraid of what got them there in the first place," says "Skunk".
It's only when the child feels safe that the bikers' work is done and it's time to ride off.
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