Lauren’s Kids to launch month-long PSA on sexual assault and child abuse

Sexual Assault Awareness Month at the Florida Capitol
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

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.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • tjb

    April 1, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Sen. Lauren Book does a great job helping children that have been sexually abused. Another Florida charity, Child Rescue Coalition, provides an investigative database for law enforcement to identify sexual predators on the dark web. Their database has directly aided law enforcement in the arrest of over 13,000 predators. As Floridians, we are fortunate to have two great organizations protecting our youngest.

  • Frank Sterle Jr.

    April 5, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    Should not every day of the year be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month?

    Trauma from unchecked child abuse/neglect typically results in the helpless child’s brain improperly developing. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it acts as his/her starting point into an adolescence and (in particular) an adulthood in which its brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines.

    In short, it can make every day an emotional/psychological ordeal, unless the mental turmoil is doused with some form of self-medicating.

    Meanwhile, general society perceives thus treats human procreative rights as though we’ll somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs. I find that mentality — however widely practiced — wrong and needing re-evaluation, however unlikely that will ever happen.

    Proactive measures in order to avoid having to later reactively treat (often with tranquilizing medication) potentially serious and life-long symptoms caused by a dysfunctional environment, neglect and/or abuse. And if we’re to avoid the dreadedly invasive conventional reactive means of intervention—that of governmental forced removal of children from dysfunctional/abusive home environments—maybe we then should be willing to try an unconventional proactive means of preventing some future dysfunctional/abusive family situations. Child development science curriculum might be one way. (Also, mental health-care needs to generate as much societal concern — and government funding — as does physical health, even though psychological illness/dysfunction typically is not immediately visually observable.)

    I wonder how many instances there have been wherein immense long-term suffering by children of dysfunctional rearing might have been prevented had the parent(s) received, as high school students, some crucial parenting or child development education by way of mandatory curriculum? After all, dysfunctional and/or abusive parents, for example, may not have had the chance to be anything else due to their lack of such education and their own dysfunctional/abusive rearing as children.

    For decades, I’ve strongly felt that a psychologically and emotionally sound (as well as a physically healthy) future should be all children’s foremost right — especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter — and therefore child development science should be learned long before the average person has their first child.

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