In It’s OK to Tell, Lauren shares her story, in her own words, of being sexually abused by her family’s nanny, and the story of what happened when she told the truth about what was happening.
Lauren’s story is an important one, I think, for three reasons:
1. Lauren comes from a very well-to-do family. We don’t tend to hear much about someone being abused in upper-middle class white families, but it absolutely happens. More than many probably want to admit.
2. On a similar note, Lauren was molested by a female perpetrator, another thing we tend to not talk a lot about. As a society we want to pigeonhole our pedophiles, to assure ourselves that our children are safer than they really are. Pedophiles come in all shapes and sizes. Avoiding the “creepy” looking middle age men does nothing to actually protect kids.
3. Lauren not only told while she was being abused, but also went through a messy and lengthy legal proceeding. This part of her story is also not one we tend to hear about a lot, but it’s vital that we understand what the process looks like, what sort of challenges are included, and plan for being able to overcome them.
The other thing that I think Lauren does an excellent job of, is including a lot of education within her story. Yes, she tells a story that is heartbreaking, that brings tears to your eyes as you imagine a lonely young girl being groomed and eventually assaulted by the woman she has come to trust and love. In between those pages though, you’ll find a lot of explanation as to what was happening, why, how it fits with typical abuse victims behavior, etc. Those of you have been on your own healing journey for awhile now, or who have spent a lot of time reading and studying child abuse may find the explanations a bit basic, but you also have to remember who the audience for this book is. It’s not us, it’s the children being abused, the parents jut discovering the abuse happening to their children, and those struggling to share their “secrets”. In that regard, Lauren does a good job of showing them the reality of healing.
I also have to respect Lauren for another reason. Yes, she’s a child of privilege, who had access to more resources to add in her healing, and her legal case, than most survivors do. (Her father is a well-known lobbyist in Florida with quite a few helpful connections.) It would be easy to dismiss much of her success to that, however you have to also give her credit for taking full advantage of her status to help others. She, with the aid of her father, have gotten the state of Florida to pass numerous laws to help victims of abuse, and she has started her own foundation, Lauren’s Kids. You can learn more about the foundation on their website, where you’ll also see that Lauren is currently in the midst of walking across Florida to raise money and awareness for abuse prevention programs. If you’re in Florida, check out when she’ll be in your area, and the opportunities to help out along the route, or by walking with her. Even if you’re not, you can donate, or simply give a thought for her safety and health along the 1,500 mile route!