KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Motorcycle bikers embody many things. Some of which may include a love of leather, patches and skulls. Now in Kanawha County, they also embody supporters of child abuse victims.
The international group Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) was founded in 1995, but the local Kanawha Valley Chapter was just chartered Sunday. The group has been in the area for about a year, but the process to become officially recognized as a chapter takes one year.
Opie Parsons, vice president of the Kanawha Valley Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, said Tuesday that bikers are there to help child abuse victims as young as 4 years old.
"We help the kids deal with reality and help them get through the fear process that they're going through," Parsons said.
Victims who are potentially scared of their abusers are paired with two people from the group who live nearby. Parsons said bikers can step in and help a child numerous ways.
"One day [BACA] may be afraid to go to the playground because they figure the perpetrator is around," he said. "They'll call us, we'll take them to the playground and play with them and get them through that fear process. If they're afraid to sleep at night, we'll go down and camp out in their front yard so they can sleep."
The presence of the bikers is meant to show the child he or she is not alone. But in some cases, they also support the victim's family .
Vickie, a mother of an abused child, was in court with BACA on behalf of her daughter.
"At first my little girl wouldn't come out of the closet because she was scared," she said. "And they started coming down and, you know, they got her out of the closet and into a group she calls them family now."
New bikers must pass an FBI investigation and spend at least a year with the group before they are allowed to work with children.
Vickie said since BACA stepped in, her daughter has come back to life.
"It makes me so happy," Vickie said. "I mean, I don't know what the word I'm looking for is but from seeing her from when it happened to now, it's just amazing ... She's becoming herself again."