Dozens walk to prevent child abuse
Fox 4 News Staff
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. - If there's power in numbers, the 103 people who took to the streets of Fort Myers sent a strong message: Child abuse will not be tolerated.
"We're walking to protect and to provide hope, healing and recovery for survivors of abuse," said Lauren Book, 28, who's one of those survivors.
"From the time that i was 11-years-old, until i was 16, at the hands of my female nanny," explained Book. "From that horrible, very tragic experience, I felt it was important to turn a negative into a positive."
Book is the founder of Lauren's Kids, a non-profit teaching communities how to protect their children.
"Often times, children are abused 90 percent of the time by someone they know, love and trust," said Lauren.
Book and supporters started the at least eight-mile walk on Evans Avenue. It ended at Hunter Park to a cheering crowd.
"She is an amazing woman, she's got amazing drive, amazing strength," said Rachel Kunz, a coordinator.
Former state representative Gary Aubuchon added, "[She's] a real example of courage and perseverance and I fully support her cause of stopping child abuse."
The cause even drew some who weren't a part of the event but wanted to help.
"We just feel led to reach out to kids, not only inner city, just kids period," said Chris Gibson, of the Fort Myers Master's Commission
From experience, Book knows how hard it can be to report abuse.
"The abuse went on for as long as it did because of shame, embarrassment, guilt," she reflected.
But it doesn't have to. Anyone suffering can break the silence.
"You can get counseling for free and that's a really important thing," emphasized Book. "Don't try and do this on your own. Get the help that is provided for you."
To report abuse and find out where you can get help, call Lauren's Kids hot line at 1-877-L-KIDS-01
The group's final stop will be thestate capital in Tallahassee on April 23.