Florida Senator Lauren Book, Child Sexual Abuse Survivor and Founder of Lauren’s Kids
“A study was today released revealing 1 in 10 middle and high school girls in Florida report surviving sexual assault – tens of thousands of girls as young as 11 who are able to comprehend and bravely report this violation. In reality, we know the number is much higher: national statistics reflect that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will become a victim of sexual abuse before graduating from high school. Seventy-five percent of children who are sexually abused do not tell anyone for at least a year – 45% keep this dark secret for at least 5 years, and many never tell. The statistics are staggering, but the solution is clear: 95% of this abuse IS preventable through education and awareness. Florida is leading the charge in abuse prevention by providing school-based programming at no cost to districts or schools, and the #MeToo movement has emboldened many to understand that it’s okay to tell – and it’s okay to heal – but each and every adult must commit to educating themselves on the signs of predatory grooming behavior in adults, signs of abuse in children, basic safety and abuse prevention tenants, and how to report suspected abuse. It is up to all of us to foster safe relationships and safe communities, and as this study reveals, Florida still has a long way to go.”
Lauren Book, M.S. ED, founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, is an internationally-recognized child protection advocate, best-selling author and Florida State Senator who works every day to protect childhood. She is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, suffered at the hands of a trusted caretaker from the time she was 10 until the age of 16. Armed with the knowledge that 95 percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education and awareness, Lauren has worked to turn her horrific personal experience into a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal.
An official 501(c)(3) since 2007, Lauren’s Kids educates adults and children about sexual abuse prevention through in-school curricula, ADDY and EMMY Award-winning public awareness campaigns and speaking engagements around the country and the world. The organization provides more than 8 million direct mail education and awareness materials statewide. The foundation has helped advocate for the passage of nearly two dozen laws to support survivors and protect children from predators. For more information, please visit www.laurens.wpengine.com.