October 10th, 2012 17:30 EST
A Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse Speaks Out About the Sandusky Sentencing
Lauren Book, M.S. Ed
Founder and CEO of the Lauren`s Kids Foundation and child sexual abuse survivor
Today`s historic sentencing of Jerry Sandusky, one of America`s most egregious perpetrators of child sex abuse, shows that justice will be served when victims, parents and the community speak up against abuse. Although I would have liked to see the maximum sentence imposed, I am encouraged that Judge Cleland listened to victims and handed down a sentence that will keep Sandusky in prison so that he cannot hurt anyone else.
As a survivor of child sexual abuse who faced my abuser in a high-profile court proceeding, I know what a day like today means for a victim. It is a day of anger, relief and sometimes even guilt. Throughout the trial, even after having been convicted, Sandusky was claiming innocence, blaming the media and his victims and shifting attention away from the egregious crimes he himself committed. This blame and guilt will live with his victims, and all victims of child sexual abuse, for the rest of their lives and will manifest itself in confusing and unfair ways. It will be a lifelong battle and an everyday choice to live as thriving survivors, not victims, of abuse.
This case speaks to the need for prevention efforts. Ninety-five percent of child sexual abuse is preventable through education and awareness, which is why I began the Lauren`s Kids Foundation, created the Safer, Smarter Kids abuse prevention curriculum and worked with the Florida Legislature to get it into the 11,000 kindergarten classrooms in the state. In addition to bringing abusers to justice and healing survivors, it is our duty as a society to work with all our might to prevent this tragedy from happening to another child.
Ron Book, P.A.
Chairman of the Lauren`s Kids foundation, acclaimed lobbyist and father of a child sexual abuse survivor
I am disappointed that the judge did not feel the need to send a stronger message across America and to the people of Pennsylvania, but especially to the victims of these crimes when he failed to hand out the maximum sentence this morning. Presiding over the most highly publicized child sex abuse case in history, Judge Cleland`s ruling sets a precedent for future cases. While 30 to 60 years may in fact be a life sentence for Sandusky, unfortunately, every victim " those that we know and those that we don`t know " have been given a life sentence, as have their family members, as Lauren and I know all too well.
All of those victims, known and unknown, and all those family members, known and unknown, have to suffer silently or commit to a lifetime counseling to deal with all of the painful, complicated consequences caused by this horrifically bad behaving, sexually deviant individual. Jerry Sandusky was put in a position of trust and didn`t simply abuse that trust, but offended in the worst ways a human being could offend, showing no remorse for that behavior. He deserved the maximum sentence, not only to show his victims that they were heard, but also to help those who continue to be silent gain the strength to come forward and tell now.
Lauren`s Kids is a non-profit organization that works to prevent abuse and heal survivors. The organization, headquartered in Aventura, Florida, was started by Lauren Book, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who endured abuse at the hands of her nanny for six years. Her organization offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, elementary school prevention curriculum, an annual awareness walk and speaking engagements. For more information, visit laurenskids.org.