For years Lauren Book was physically, sexually and emotionally abused by her female nanny. After revealing the abuse to her family, Book and her father, lobbyist Ron Book, worked to change Florida laws to help to make it easier for abusers to be brought to justice.
Along with working to change state laws, Book began the Lauren’s Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization to help survivors and to prevent abuse through education.
The foundation has a prevention program for school children in grades K-5 called Safer, Smarter Kids.
“We do talk about secrets and surprises and what is a safe touch,” she said. “We were just featured on the Lisa Ling Show on the O Network. The goal is to continue to fund the program in schools.”
Book has a written a memoir called It’s OK to Tell about her experiences. She had a signing on Mar. 16 at Books and Books in Coral Gables to mark the book’s release. Tracy Alonso Mourning introduced her.
“It’s a real tool for anybody to look at the prevention of abuse,” Book said. “How a victim of abuse can become victorious and become a thriving survivor. It’s my process of healing and how my family came to do what we did.”
From Books and Books she headed to Key West to begin the “Walk in My Shoes” trek to Tallahassee.
“The walk is a program on its own. We’re starting the walk in Key West and we’re walking all the way to Tallahassee,” she said. “Our ‘Rally in Tally’ will be Apr. 26.”
While on the walk, Book and her entourage will be stopping at every sexual assault treatment center along the way.
“They don’t have to suffer in silence, they can become thriving survivors,” she said. “Ninety five percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education and awareness.”
This is the second year Book has walked to Tallahassee. Last year she walked a total of 500 miles and went through three pairs of shoes. This year, the walk is 1,000 miles long.
“It’s an incredible activity, it’s an incredible walk,” she said. “We’ve touched so many people and changed so many lives.”
The walk also brings attention to legislation to be voted on by Florida lawmakers. Last year’s legislation eliminated the statute of limitations on abuse. This year the legislation calls for the continued funding of sexual treatment centers.
The 39-day walk ends Apr. 26 with a rally on the steps of the historic Old Capitol Building.
Since 2002, Book and her father have been successful in advocating for more than a dozen laws that have passed by the Florida Legislature.
For more information on the walk and Book’s memoir, go to www.laurenskids.org. Lauren’s Kids Hotline is 1-877-LKids01.