It’s late March when Lauren Book and I head into the bowels of the Florida Civil Commitment Center (FCCC), armed with loose-leaf paper, pencils and the knowledge that we are about to sit face to face with three of the most dangerous sexually violent predators in the state. “This is the most manipulative crowd on the planet,” says Kristin Kanner, director of the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Sexually Violent Predator Program. And one of the men we’re seeing today has been sending Book and her father angry letters for the past few years.
The FCCC is surrounded by seemingly endless stretches of sugar fields, cow pastures and orange groves. Wrapped in 12-foot barbed wire fences and guarded with more than 200 cameras, it is where Florida keeps 640 of its worst sexually violent offenders. About half have committed crimes against just children, a third against just adults.
Lauren Book is the founder of Lauren’s Kids Foundation, which educates adults and children about sexual abuse.
After being sexually abused by her live-in nanny for six years, Book eventually told her boyfriend and parents.
Every year, Lauren’s Kids organizes something called “Walk in My Shoes” — survivors and advocates walk across the state of Florida to raise awareness about sexual assault.
“She walks during Sexual Assault Awareness Month to empower others to know that ‘It’s OK to Tell’ and it’s okay to heal from victim to survivor to thriver,” Claire VanSusteren told BuzzFeed. “When she reached the steps of the Florida Capitol on April 22, she walked 6,000 miles in the name of hope, healing and recovery.”
Miami Heat and Sun Sports reporter Kristin Hewitt joins Lauren Book as she raises awareness for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse with the “Walk in my Shoes” campaign.
Today’s Badass Chick is Lauren Book, founder of Lauren’s Kids. This organization works to educate children about sexual abuse, in hopes that education equals prevention. Lauren Book was sexually abused by her nanny when she was growing up, and now she is a teacher, author and activist working hard to prevent this from happening to other children. She holds fundraisers and develops curriculum that educates children in schools. She also has received over 17 awards for her contributions. Kudos to Lauren for turning a terrible thing into a positive movement. Lauren Book is my Badass Chick of the Day!
Lauren Book kept her feelings of shame quiet for years after she was sexually abused by her nanny. Now, at 27, Book is protesting out loud, as she walks across the state of Florida to support abuse victims.
Book’s nonprofit, Lauren’s Kids — and its supporters — will trek 1,500 miles through Florida to encourage sex abuse victims to speak up and to advocate for education and federal child sex abuse laws WINK News reports.
“The recent Penn State and Syracuse tragedies underscore what I have known for some time,” Book said in a release. “Our society has a very high tolerance for childhood sexual abuse and this crime is vastly underreported.”