With the calendar turning to a new month, Lauren’s Kids is launching an outreach and awareness campaign aiming to assist sexual assault and child abuse survivors in the state.
April 1 marks the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. During April, Lauren’s Kids will be highlighting its resources for survivors, as well as families looking to recover from or prevent future abuse. The group is also releasing a new public service announcement to help parents protect their kids from online predators using social media apps and other digital spaces.
Sen. Lauren Book — herself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse — founded Lauren’s Kids before her time in the Legislature. The organization has done work for years offering assistance to survivors and bringing attention to these issues in the state.
“The topics of child abuse and sexual assault can be scary and uncomfortable to talk about, but until we shatter the stigma that surrounds them, children and adults will continue to suffer in silence,” Book said in a statement on her group’s push to raise awareness this month.
“We think, ‘No one in my life is experiencing abuse’ — I would know. But in reality, one in three girls and one in five boys will become a victim of sexual abuse, and 45% of kids don’t tell anyone for at least five years. With education, awareness, and advocacy, we can prevent abuse and make sure survivors know that it’s OK to tell — and it’s OK to heal.”
The organization will also showcase some of its community service work over the years. In February, Lauren’s Kids and AshBritt completed a more than year-long process to rebuild a Panama City child trauma center destroyed by Hurricane Michael.
Now, Lauren’s Kids is releasing a program for TV titled “The Journey Home,” recapping the project. The program will air in media markets across the state.
Lauren’s Kids is also promoting its annual walk to raise awareness for childhood sexual abuse. The organization is asking individuals to walk 42 miles throughout the month of April in honor of the estimated 42 million childhood sexual abuse survivors living in the U.S.
That walk will serve as a pandemic-safe alternative to a 42-hour walk in Tallahassee led by Book in the past. At Lauren’s Kids, Book also spearheaded a 1,500 mile “Walk in My Shoes” trek from Tallahassee to Key West to promote awareness.