Walk in My Shoes: A Look Back

From 2010 through 2018, Lauren Book took to Florida’s highways and byways – literally walking across the state of Florida to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. Lauren’s “Walk in My Shoes” started as her own healing journey, walking from the home in which she was abused more than 500 miles to the steps of the Historic Florida Capitol, and as a way to get people to pay attention to an issue too often confined to the shadows. Her walk grew to include tens of thousands of participants and span 1,500 miles from Key West up Florida’s east coast, traversing over to the West, and ending again in Tallahassee to advocate for legislative and societal change. Over the course of the Walk in My Shoes, Lauren logged more than 10,500 in the name of child protection, public awareness, and to let fellow survivors know that it’s OK to tell – and it’s OK to heal.

Take a look at the eight years of the Walk in My Shoes…

A look back at the 7,500+ miles of Walk in My Shoes

2010: Lauren Book announces the first annual Walk in My Shoes

2010: Walk in My Shoes 500-mile walk from Miami to Tallahassee

In 2010, our legislative advocacy helped enact the following laws:

Elimination of the Statute of Limitations/State Law: Eliminates the Statute of Limitations for both civil and criminal prosecutions for certain abuse crimes committed against children under 16, related to Sexual Assault.

Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Voluntary Contribution/State Law: Raises funds to fight childhood sexual abuse through voluntary driver’s license and registration renewals by a voluntary donation of $1 or more. Allows for expanded education and awareness programming; more than 60 million pieces of material educating the public will be distributed through this effort in 2013-2014 alone.

2011: Walk in My Shoes 1,000-mile walk from Key West to Tallahassee

In 2011, our legislative advocacy helped enact the following law:

Walk in Their Shoes Act: Expands the admissibility of collateral crime or “similar fact” evidence in cases where a person is charged with child molestation or a sexual offense.

Safer, Smarter Kids Appropriation: The state also provided Lauren’s Kids with funds to distribute our Safer, Smarter Kids abuse prevention curriculum to more than 16,000 public school Kindergarten and Voluntary Pre-K classrooms in Florida.

2012: Walk in My Shoes 1,500-mile walk from Key West to Tallahassee

In 2012, our legislative advocacy helped enact the following law:

Protection of Vulnerable Persons: Created in response to the Penn State Scandal. Requires that all Floridians report known or suspected child abuse and if a report is not made, the non-reporter will be charged with a 3rd degree felony. Also requires that Colleges and Universities to report known or suspected abuse or face up to a $1 million fine as well as 3rd degree felony penalties if charged criminally. Florida is the only state to do so.

Don’t Miss the Signs Campaign/Safer, Smarter Kids Appropriation: To educate the public about the changes to Florida law, the State provided funds to Lauren’s Kids and the Florida Department of Children and Families to launch the Don’t Miss the Signs campaign. Additionally, we were provided funds to expand our Safer, Smarter Kids curriculum for children with special needs and foster parents.

2013: Walk in My Shoes 1,500-mile walk from Key West to Tallahassee

In 2013, our legislative advocacy helped enact the following laws:

Expanding the Hearsay Exception to Adolescent Victims of Sexual Abuse: Allows an out of court statement made by a victim up to the age of 16, describing certain sex crimes, as admissible as evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding dependent upon certain findings of the court.

Lauren’s Kids Specialty License Plate: Approved the creation and sale of a Lauren’s Kids Prevent Child Sexual Abuse specialty license plate. Proceeds from the sale of the plates will go toward the prevention of sexual abuse through awareness and education and to help survivors heal with guidance and support.

Safer, Smarter Kids Appropriation: The state also provided Lauren’s Kids with funds to expand our Safer, Smarter Kids abuse prevention curriculum to grades 1 – 3.

2014: Protection from Sexual Predators: Terminates parental rights of those who have been deemed sexual predators; mandates the placement of a red “P” on the driver’s licenses of sexual predators.

2015: Secret Recordings of Abusers Allowed in Court:

  • Children 18 and younger may now secretly record their abusers using a hidden device and subsequently convict those offenders using the recording(s) as evidence in court.

2016: Walk in My Shoes 1,500-mile walk from Key West to Tallahassee

2017: Postponed due to Hurricane Irma

2018: Making an Impact and Raising Awareness, a 1,500 mile Journey from Panama City to Key West