We are based in Kimberley in the Northern Cape. We have been focussing on smaller, local rallies and runs in this area for now but we would like to begin doing national eventsnext year. Optimystic Bikers against Abuse are basically the advocacy and fundraising committee of the organisation, Optimystic. The bikers do a couple of things:
They are basically driving the Silence Breaker Campaign. I have attached a pledge for you to see. We have 129 silence breakers at the present time. Whenever we do runs, rallies or other events we always sign silence breakers.We use rallies, runs and events to raise awareness around abuse issues and educate as many people as we can. We try to keep a high profile and in this way we hope that others will see that bikers are not abusers (bikers still have a bad image in the general community!) Our patched members wear their colours whenever they ride their bikes as well as to any event we attend as Optimystic.
All our patched members volunteer to help out at the Tamar Shelter or whenever we are called to a crisis situation. The arrangement we have with the shelter is that when they are in difficulty they call the police and then us. We go out as quickly as possible basically to be there until the police arrive. The guys help out in whatever way they are called on to. Usually just looking intimidating is enough! Some of our affiliates are policemen. They have also offered to help out with general maintenance at the shelter. At the moment helping this one shelter is keeping us fairly busy but the idea is to build a network where we would be helping shelters all over the country using our silence breaker volunteers and our affiliates. (See par. 3)
We encourage other bikers - clubs or individuals - to affiliate to us. Basically affiliation means that they sign a silence breaker pledge, donate to Optimystic once a year and then they can choose to be involved in a hands-on way or not. We have signed affiliates from other towns and regions including Gauteng. Our affiliates wear affiliate badges on the front of their jackets and so increase our visibility.
The bikers also help out with Optimystic events and programmes. I do hands on work with victims, as well as telling my story at schools and churches and generally trying to get victims on a holistic plan for healing. We also do stalls at fleamarkets and have big plans for the 16 Days of Activism this year.
Financially the bikers help with fundraising. None of us draw salaries or are financially rewarded by the organisation or the bikers. When they do runs and sell badges etc half of the proceeds go to Optimystic the organisation and the other half is used to cover costs for doing rallies, having badges made, printing, etc. The organisation works on the principle that a percentage of funds raised is used to help other struggling organisations (like the Tamar Shelter) and the rest of the moneycovers costs such like keeping the website running, printing of Survivor to Thriver manuals, etc.