MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A sex abuse survivor is on a mission that she’s under taking one step at a time.
On Tuesday, Lauren Book will walk from Florida City to Weston as part of her 15-hundred mile journey to raise awareness and fight for victim’s rights.
Book was just ten years old when someone she loved and trusted, her nanny Waldeana Florez, began sexually abusing her. She endured the abuse for six years before she was finally able to break away.
“I understand it all too well,” said Book, “’It’s okay to tell’ is the message.”
Book launched the ”Walk in My Shoes” campaign in 2010 to raise awareness of the issue of sexual abuse and encourage victims to speak about their experiences.
“It’s all about empowerment, getting communities aware of sexual violence and that we don’t have to take it anymore,” said Book. “We need to do a lot to protect our children and our families. We have a really great legislative package this year and we’re excited to get to Tally and advocate for that.”
Book said a pair of bills before the Legislature would close a loophole in Florida’s abuse reporting law. HB 1355 and SB 1816 would require the Florida Abuse Hotline to accept reports of suspected child abuse regardless of who the alleged abuser is. Currently, the Florida Abuse Hotline is only obligated to accept reports if the alleged abuser is the child’s primary caregiver.
Book also will promote the state’s new abuse prevention curriculum, which will be delivered this month to every kindergarten class and every elementary school guidance counselor in Florida. Book, whose Lauren’s Kids foundation created the curriculum, will teach portions of the lessons in elementary school classes along the way.
The walk throughout Florida began on Jan. 14 in Key West and will end in Tallahassee on Feb. 22, with a rally at the state Capitol.