April 18

UCF Book Festival – April, 2015

UCF_4

 

I had a wonderful time today out at University of Central Florida’s Book Festival. The variety of conversations I had and the people I met were interesting, surprising, and validating. Some folks were shocked to here the sheer volume of cases which exist where educators are abusing students. Other visitors were thrilled to hear that people are attempting to combat this epidemic. As usual, I had quite a few people open up to me and share their own stories of abuse. I’m enjoying this new journey of sharing my book with others and connecting with others along the way. I continually pray that Invisible Target finds its way into the right hands of the many people who care about protecting children.

April 9

Barbara Walters interview with Mary Kay Letourneau

It has taken me all day to try to formulate my words and thoughts about this “article” and upcoming interview. The picture alone evoked such anger, sadness, and betrayal in me. SO many things are problematic in this article. How on earth does one use the term “affair” when an adult (ANY adult) has sex with a 13 year old child. How would the world be feeling if that woman who “had a relationship” with the boy were a married man “sleeping with” a barely adolescent girl? The double standard in this country makes me ill and is a severe injustice to all victims and survivors.

Barbara Walters

Link to article

March 17

Commentary from Terri Miller

I am often asked to address the double standard that is quite prevalent in some attitudes when a female teacher is arrested for abusing a male student. S.E.S.A.M.E. president Terri Miller made the following statement that moved me to share with others. When this headline recently hit the media, Terri had this to say:

“To Mr. Sean Patrick, I wonder; should girls who are raped by their teachers also keep their “stupid mouths” shut? Knowing you are in a classroom with someone’s children is scary. In my opinion, it’s attitudes like yours that perpetuate child sexual abuse in the education profession. You are a mandated reporter and I fear you would not make a report in the best interest of the child. What you should have said (in your way of speaking) is; you stupid f-ing teachers, when you hurt our students like this, you disgrace us all. Then you would have our respect and trust. For a good attitude adjustment go to: www.sesamenet.org

The article in the following link contains profanity (just a little head’s up). Terri’s statement is yet another reminder of why she is my mentor and hero in so many ways. Thank you, Terri, for leading the way!

 

California Teachers Accused Of Sex With Students Hit With More Charges

 

 

 

March 16

KidSafe’s “Shine the Light” Gala

On March 7th, I had the honor of being the guest speaker at KidSafe’s annual fundraising gala, and was it fabulous! There were 250 wonderful people in one room dedicated to raise funds to provide workshops, seminars, and trainings for kids pre-K through 5th grade, teachers, parents, and mentors. I was excited to donate 100 of my newly printed books to this event, and I got my first real taste of book-signing. It was an adventurous night, and I wanted to share some photos from the evening:

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Cherie Benjoseph and Sally Berenzweig – the wonderful co-founders of KidSafe Foundation

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Sharing my story, emphasizing why the KidSafe programs are so critical to our children and communities

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March 4

Invisible Target Now Available on Amazon

For Immediate Release

Invisible Target Now Available on Amazon

Andrea Clemens’ book, describing her personal account of sexual abuse at the hands of her middle school teacher is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Clermont, FL, March 04, 2015 ­– Invisible Target is the true, detailed account of one girl’s experience of sexual abuse at the hands of her middle school teacher. It follows her journey, beginning with her tumultuous childhood, meeting the teacher, and the grooming process he used to lure her into a false sense of trust and ultimate betrayal. After years of abuse and manipulation, she finally found the courage to bravely break away from her abuser.

With excerpts from newspaper articles and an actual court impact statement, this book gives the reader a clear picture of how the epidemic of educator sexual abuse begins, progresses, and impacts so many innocent lives.

Invisible Target is more than a memoir. With thought-provoking questions at the close of each chapter, this book serves as a strong educational tool for students, parents, teachers, and administrators by shedding light on the dynamics of educator sexual abuse so that school can be a safe haven for every child.

“Andrea Clemens has written a courageously honest book about her experience of being the target of a teacher sexual predator. She lets the reader see how predators work and shares the often contradictory emotions and responses that those who are abused experience. But more than that, she takes us through her journey of awareness, anger, and empowerment. We see how hard it is, and we see her triumph. Hers is not a rare story.” said Charol Shakeshaft, Ph.D., Professor, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University. “What is rare is that Ms. Clemens is willing to tell it without holding back or simplifying the complexity of emotions and responses. This book can help students identify predators, parents to support their children, and educators to prevent abuse.”

By his or her senior year of high school, nearly one in ten students will experience some form of sexual misconduct by a school employee. Invisible Target aims to raise awareness of this epidemic and create open discussions in homes, schools, and communities across the nation.

“I’ve shared my story and spoken about educator sexual abuse for over ten years, and I feel blessed that I now have the opportunity to reach a larger audience with the release of Invisible Target,” explained Andrea Clemens. “This book needs to be in the hands of students, parents, teachers, and administrators, so that together we can keep our children safe.”

About Andrea Clemens: Andrea received her master’s degree from Boston University in clinical social work. She has been educating school faculty, students, administrators, parenting groups, mentors, and the general public about educator sexual abuse for over ten years. She has participated in both local and national radio, television, and news programs, and she has dedicated her life to sharing her story with others so that schools can provide the safe environments that students deserve.

To order a copy of Invisible Target on Amazon, Click here: Amazon: Invisible Target 

For more information about Invisible Target, please visit: http://andreaspeaksout.com

Andrea is available for interviews and appearances. For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, and/or book-signings contact: andrea@andreaspeaksout.com

February 26

We have proof!

 

Today I held this book in my own hands – a dream come true for me! I haven’t yet found the words to describe the feeling – but I’m working on it. I gave my final approval on the proof copy, and 500 books are being printed during the next week. I should begin mailing them out to all my Kickstarter supporters the week of March 9th. I’m also thrilled to be donating 100 of them to KidSafe Foundation – just in time for their annual fundraising gala in Boca Raton, Florida.

I’m praying that Invisible Target finds its way into all the right hands. Soon I will be focusing on getting the message of this book out into the world. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I’m excited and more than ready to answer that call.

What a day!

February 9

Florida PTA Healthy Children, Healthy Future State Summit, February 2015

This weekend I had the honor and pleasure of representing KidSafe Foundation at the FLPTA Healthy Children, Healthy Future State Summit in Orlando, Florida. I met many PTA presidents and members of the Department of Education and Department of Health, all of whom are dedicated to making out kids’ lives  healthier and more successful. I was asked to share my story of educator abuse and cautionary advice, and I was very grateful for this opportunity. I have often been met with a fair amount of resistance in the past from school systems when discussing this issue. I am so impressed that the Florida PTA has embraced being open to discussing educator abuse so that we can all make these schools of ours safer environments for children to learn and grow.

I also had the new experience of moderating a panel discussion of working with vulnerable populations. The topics of sexual abuse, foster care, and sex trafficking were all addressed. The panelists were leaders in their fields, and I learned a great deal. Safety and prevention education seem to be absolutely key in addressing and diminishing these troubling, harsh realities.

I thought I would share one piece of information that somehow stopped me in my tracks. Kathy Williams, a foster parent recruiter, was asked what we could all do to make a difference in the lives of foster children. Her response? There is a huge need for suitcase donations. The kids have to sometimes move multiple times from foster home to foster home. Quite often, they shove all their belongings in a black trash bag. Kathy stated that a nice, normal suitcase can soften the process a bit. This broke my heart and made the foster care world so much more real for me. So, if any of you can donate a suitcase at some point, reach out to your local foster care system. Thank you!

PTA speech

 

panel

January 25

Finish Line in sight!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m excited to post a few updates for you all.

I received my final bit of feedback from my third expert tonight. I couldn’t be more honored to have Charol Shakeshaft, Ph.D. review Invisible Target. Charol was responsible for conducting the synthesis of existing literature for the U.S. Department of Education on the incidence of educator sexual abuse in 2004. Most of the time, if you hear statistics about the prevalence of this epidemic, you are hearing quotes from Charol’s work. I wanted to share her feedback with you here:

“Andrea Clemens has written a courageously honest book about her experience of being the target of a teacher sexual predator.  She lets the reader see how predators work and shares the often contradictory emotions and responses that those who are abused experience.  But more than that, she takes us through her journey of awareness, anger, and empowerment.  We see how hard it is and we see her triumph.  Hers is not a rare story.  What is rare is that Ms Clemens is willing to tell it without holding back or simplifying the complexity of emotions and responses.  This book can help students identify predators, parents to support their children, and educators to prevent abuse.”

~Charol Shakeshaft, Ph.D., Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Educational Leadership

I also had the pleasure of handing over my manuscript to Carol Benanti-Nowlin, who will be adapting this story into a screenplay. Thanks to my many Kickstarter supporters for making this possible. I’m really looking forward to working in conjunction with Carol to bring this important message to life.

And finally, after almost nine years, this evening I sumbitted my final edits, changes, prayers, you name it, to my editing team. Calling it “done” was one of the most unexpectedly emotional parts of this writing journey.

Here’s what you can expect: The team is now going to be working on the layout of the book. They will help determine the paragraph and page layout as well as the front and back cover layout. I’ve been told it should take at least three weeks. I’ll be approving pages and other things throughout the process.

The next step will be to send it all to a proofreader.  Once this step is completed, my team will help me establish everything on Amazon so that Invisible Target will be available to purchase. I will have a file that I send to my local printer, which should take about a week to print. My goal is to have everything completed by March 6th, but some of these components are out of my hands. I’ll keep you all posted as everything progresses.

None of this would have been possible without all of the generous support and belief in me and in this project from my Kickstarter supporters. I can honestly say this has been one of the most challenging endeavors of my life. I have true faith that it will be one of the most rewarding, as well. My gratitude for all of you is enormous. Have a great night, and I promise to check in soon!

~Andrea

Carol

Handing off my manuscript to Carol