Morpeth woman who was sexually abused as a child writes book to help parents and children themselves
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Laura Coel, known as Lou, is a professional singer and runs a busy casting agency. She went public, and waived her right to anonymity for sex offence victims, more than 10 years ago and started an online campaign.
Her story went on to be covered in the national media and she received many messages of support, including from those who had similar experiences. The next stage of raising awareness and potentially helping others has come with ‘Laura’s Secret’.
The mother-of-three was abused from the age of eight to 14, although the book gently tells the story of her childhood without using explicit language or content that might disturb young readers because it has been written as a resource for children themselves as well as parents, safeguarding agencies and schools.
She believes that children need to understand the concept of personal boundaries and the importance of speaking out when something is wrong.
In the front of the book, there are instructions for parents to help them navigate the reading experience with their children. Parents are encouraged to read it first, discuss it with their children and engage in a dialogue about the content.
It includes questions to prompt discussions, such as identifying good and bad secrets and understanding the importance of trust within families.
Lou said: “I’ve been thinking about writing this book for a long time and it’s something very close to my heart.
“When I was sexually abused, at that time nobody discussed it. I didn’t have the vocabulary to express what was happening to me.
“If I’d had a resource like this as a child, I might have been able to talk to my mum or give her some clues about what was going on. I have three young daughters myself and I’d hate them to go through what I have.”
The Lions charity is set to provide 150 copies of the book to schools in Northumberland and Lou hopes to see it become a standard resource for schools nationwide.
Laura’s Secret is currently available on Amazon for £8.50, with the minimal cost associated with self-publishing on the platform.