1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys in the United States are likely to be abused before their 18th birthday.
With that statistic in mind, Lauren Book, a child abuse survivor and advocate is raising her voice to help give others like her the power to overcome the hurt.
Lauren made a stop in Panama City as part of a statewide movement. She and hundreds of other walked 6 miles starting and ending at the Children’s AdvocacyCenter on 11th street.
Five years ago, Lauren Book started a mission to help raise awareness for child abuse and in the process help heal survivors.
"When I was 10 and I was being abused, from the time I was 10 until I was 16, I thought that people saw through me,” said Book. “I didn't think they didn't saw me, because if they saw me, they would stop it… no one did. So thank you for seeing me, thank you for seeing all these survivors out here thank you for seeing us and raising your voice and letting us be heard."
Lauren starting walking to let her voice be heard and now, five years later, thousands walk along with her.
Saturday was the last leg of her 1,500 millemile through the Florida. From Key West to Tallahassee, the journey will come to an end next week when Lauren and her supporters will rally in Tallahassee for even more legislative change, than what they have already helped achieve.
"It’s a painful story to share but when you pass legislation to make the state safer it’s well worth the effort," said Rep. Jimmy Patronis.
"It’s small price to pay, I lose my toenails, I could buy new knees, but it’s empowering these survivors and watching them become thrivers, I could never stop," said Book.
If you want to learn more about Lauren’s movement, visit her website laurenskids.org.