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Walkers trek across Pinellas County to raise awareness of child sexual abuse

LawWalkers trek across Pinellas County to raise awareness of child sexual abuse

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — As the massive pink and blue bus rolled up to the Publix parking lot in Pinellas Park, State Senator Lauren Book rolled out of it.

“I know that we’re making a difference,” Book said. “People are paying attention to this issue, they’re working to combat it.”

That issue Book cares about is child abuse awareness — it’s at the core of her “Walk in My Shoes” campaign.

“It was important to be able to show survivors that you can become a thriving survivor,” Book said. “With the support of your family, friends and community, anything is possible.”

A couple of dozen people, including survivors, educators, and supporters, joined Book on a three-mile walk from Pinellas Park to St. Petersburg to raise awareness of child sexual abuse after she was abused for six years as a child.

“From changing laws and everything that she’s done,” said Kateka Riggins. “I have been for her and supported her with the little finances that I’ve had.”

The St. Pete resident said she was also abused.

“When I was growing up, there wasn’t any agencies,” said Riggins. “It was like, things that stayed in the house, stayed in the house. You didn’t have resources to tell.”

Pinellas Park’s City Council made a proclamation for State Senator Book as well, presented by Council Member Tim Caddell. He’s been walking with Book since she started the campaign in 2010.

“One in three women and one in five men will be sexually abused as children,” Caddell said. “That’s a startling fact.”

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