15 Sep 2014
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Sex Abuse Survivor's Journey for Law Change

Sexual abuse survivor and advocate Lauren Book is walking 1,500 miles across Florida to raise awareness and to lobby for tougher child abuse laws.

A survivor of childhood sex abuse who is walking across Florida to raise awareness is making stops in South Tampa this week.

Lauren Book, who founded the nonprofit, Lauren's Kids, is working to change Florida laws to better prevent abuse and help survivors to heal.

After walking in Clearwater Tuesday morning, she is scheduled to stop at Alpha House, 201 S. Tampania Ave., where she will participate in a group session. Wednesday morning, she will be at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 Franklin St. (See schedule below for details.)

The 1,500-mile walk through Florida began March 19 in Key West and will end in Tallahassee on April 23, with a rally at the state Capitol. April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Book uses her own story to taise awareness and encourage victims to speak out. She endured sexual abuse for six years at the hands of her nanny. As an adult she has worked full time to reform sexual abuse laws to help the survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

As Book travels from Key West to Tallahassee during Walk in My Shoes 2013, Book will be joined by state attorneys to advocate for a change in Florida law that would make an out-of-court statement from older child victims of sexual abuse, sometimes called "victimless" prosecution, a stronger tool in trials against their alleged abusers, as contained in  HB 7031.

Book is also seeking to expand the state’s existing kindergarten abuse prevention curriculum to include grades one through five, incorporating such topics as bullying and Internet safety. 

She also uses Facebook to spread her message.

Here's a look at her schedule:

Tuesday, April 2


9:00 a.m.                                     Panel

                                                      Juvenile Welfare Board

                                                      14155 58th Street North

                                                      Clearwater, FL 33760

                                                      **Lauren will be participating in a panel discussion about child sexual                                                                         abuse and welfare


11:45 a.m.                                      Rally

                                                      Pinellas County Tax Collectors

                                                      29399 US Highway 19 North, Clearwater, FL 33761

                                                      **Lauren will be leading a rally


2:30 p.m.                                     Group Session

                                                      Alpha House

                                                       201 S. Tampania Avenue

                                                      Tampa, FL 33609

                                                      **Lauren will be participating in a group session at the Alpha House


Wednesday, April 3


8:00 a.m.                                    Walk (Loop)

                                                      Tampa Convention Center

                                                      333 S Franklin St

                                                      Tampa, FL 33602

                                                      **Lauren and supporters will be walking a loop


12:30 p.m.                                    Lunch & Learn

                                                      Mary Lee’s House

                                                      2806 N. Armenia Avenue, Suite 500

                                                      Tampa, FL 33607

                                                      **Lauren will be leading in a lunch and learn at Mary Lee’s House                                                                       


3:30 p.m.                                    Psychology Event

                                                      Nova Southeastern University (Tampa), Room 2017

                                                      3632 Queen Palm Drive

                                                      Tampa, FL 33619

                                                      **Lauren will lead a psychology seminar on child sexual abuse at NSU

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