Over 100 Motorcycles Ride to Raise Awareness of Sexual Abuse

Organizer and exemplary survivor Kayla Garriott speaks to the assembled riders at the Sixth Annual Riding for a Voice event. More than 100 motorcycles and 15 other vehicles participated in the motorcade.

By Lura Jackson

All throughout the weekend of July 22nd-23rd, the resonating rumble of motorcycles could be heard echoing throughout the St. Croix Valley. While the sound of motorcycles in the summertime in Maine is not unusual, the number of motorcycles in the neighborhood increased dramatically as part of the Sixth Annual Riding for a Voice event – an event that aimed to raise awareness of childhood sexual abuse. 

On Saturday morning, the attendees gathered in the parking lot of the Calais Motor Inn to register for a motorcade ride down to Cohill’s in Lubec and back. 107 motorcycles were registered in the event, as well as 15 cars and other vehicles. Approximately 30 of those in attendance were from Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A®). The Wabanaki Warriors were also well-represented at the event.

“We believe it’s important because they can’t fend for themselves, so someone ought to be there to stick up for them and help them out,” said Peace Keeper of the Wabanaki Warriors. The Warriors ride at the event every year to show their support.

The Riding for a Voice event is organized each year by survivor Kayla Garriott and her family and friends. Garriott was abused in silence for seven years by her biological father as she was growing up in Robbinston. At the time, her mother, Robin Bouchard, was unaware; when Garriott was able to speak about it she resolved she would never be quiet on the subject again.

For this year’s event, Garriott wanted to provide additional support to AMHC Sexual Assault Services. Jodi Leach, a representative from AMHC, spoke during the event. “I am very impressed with everybody who’s out here today to help break the silence on childhood sexual abuse,” Leach said to the assembled riders. Leach explained that AMHC has been offering services for victims for over 20 years in Washington and Hancock counties, though unfortunately Garriott and her mother did not know it during Garriott’s time of peak need. Awareness of childhood sexual abuse has continued to grow, and more victims have been coming forward. “It’s heartbreaking, but it’s wonderful to see them become survivors like Kayla,” said Leach. “This is one of the happy events that we like as it is bringing awareness and breaking the silence.”

AMHC is in the process of establishing a Children’s Advocacy Center in Washington County, Leach said. The process is still in the developmental stages as the organization is seeking a safe, comfortable space to enable children to speak words that can be very difficult to convey.

After awarding AMHC with $1,000, to be used in trauma recovery groups, Garriott herself spoke. “I started this ride six years ago. I would have never thought it would have grown into what it is today,” Garriott said. “We ride for a voice. We share our stories for those who haven’t figured out they can share their own… Here’s to the kids and the other victims that haven’t found themselves as survivors yet. We share our voice for them so that hopefully one day they may find theirs’.”

The procession of vehicles was formally released after a ceremonial walk by the Color Guard, comprised of two members of the American Legion, Mike Mclean and Troy Ramsdell. After the vehicles returned, Garriott announced that B.A.C.A® would be receiving $516 from a 50/50 draw and B.A.C.A® Canada would receive a donation of $300. 

Among the groups that were presented with a plaque of appreciation for attending and supporting the Riding for a Voice event were the Wabanaki Warriors.

Preparing to ride in the sixth annual riding for a voice event are these motorcyclists and assorted vehicles. The motorcade traveled from Calais Motor Inn to Cohill's in Lubec and back.