JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Dozens of Florida residents are walking across the state to combat child sex abuse as part of April's National Child Abuse Awareness Month. It's the fifth annual "Walk in My Shoes" event.
"One in three girls and one in five boys may be sexually abused before the age of 18," said child sex abuse survivor, Lauren Book.
Book and hundreds of Floridians are tying up their laces for the 1,500 mile walk across the state in order to stop sex crimes against children. The group is traveling from Key West to Tallahassee on a 42 day journey. The group only stop for lunch and of course, to sleep. The event participants are dedicated to walking in any condition- rain or shine.
"I am a victim of child sex abuse from the time I was ten to the time I was 16 years old," said Book. "It was by the hands of my childhood nanny."
Book started the walk years ago after her battle to heal from the abuse. She was sexually, physically and emotionally abused at the hands of her female nanny and felt too weak to report it. Today, she is on a journey to save not only herself, but other children as well.
"95% of child abuse can be prevented and that's what we are doing here today," said Book. "Talking about the issue, having community partners out here and telling people in this community how to keep their kids safe [is really important]"
The group has ten days left until the end of their journey to end child sex abuse.