Author, Activist, Speaker, wife, mother,
and force behind Erin's Law
Glamour Magazine 2012 Woman of the Year
Named by PEOPLE Magazine a HEROES Among us and one of fifteen women changing the world in their June 2014 issue.
Author of Stolen Innocence, Living for Today and
An Unimaginable Act. Order it today.
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Erin Merryn is a Woman of the Year because..."She's taken her personal crusade and turned it into a public one. So many children will be protected because of her." --TV host Katie Couric, 1992, 2002, and 2006 Woman of the Year.
Just weeks shy of my 7th birthday I was raped by my adult neighbor. It was so brutal I thought I was dying. I remember being so utterly confused. Memories of that day are seared in my memory. The abuse continued until I was eight and a half. This man had threatened me he would hurt me if I told anyone. No one would believe me.
Just before my 9th birthday we moved. Little did I know by moving I was getting that much closer to my next abuser. From the age of eleven to thirteen I was repeatedly sexually abused at the hands of a family member. He too threatened me and told me no one would believe me if I told.
The only message I got as a child came from my abusers and that was to stay silent or else. I went to bed night after night crying into my pillow, having nightmares, and keeping my secrets locked away in my childhood diary.
I believe everyone is born with a purpose and I found my purpose through the pain that has taken place in my life. I decided at a young age to take a stand against evil and be a voice for the voiceless.
I turned my childhood diary into a book called Stolen Innocence when I was a senior in high school. I began flying the country putting a face and voice on this silent epidemic speaking at events all over. A story I am not ashamed of but instead determined to help others heal and find their voice. My mission is to take the stigma and shame off of sexual abuse and give survivors a reason to speak up.
I am at war against this silent evil that is lurking in the shadows.
My media appearances have included TODAY show 2015, ABC Nightline 2015, CNN 2015, Dr. Drew 2015, Inside Edition 2015, MSNBC 2015, Oprah Winfrey Network 2014, Windy City Live 2014, MSNBC 2013, FOX 2013, Katie Couric 2013, Oprah Life Class 2012, CNN 2012, Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell 2011, Oprah Winfrey Show October 2010, Montel Williams in April/July 2006, and Good Morning America in May 2006. I have appeared in People Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Time Magazine, Cosmo Girl Magazine, The London Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald, among others. In December 2010 I was named News maker of the year for the Daily Herald.
I earned my bachelors degree in social work from Western Illinois University in May 2008. I graduated with my masters in social work from Aurora University in May 2009. My second book Living For Today was published November 2009. My third book An Unimaginable Act came out November 2013.
I went after a law called "Erin's Law" in January 2010. Erin's law provides age appropriate curriculum for kids on personal body safety in pre-k through 12th grade. Educating kids on safe touch, unsafe touch, safe secrets, unsafe secrets, how to get away and tell today if they are being sexually abused.
For the past 5 years I have traveled from one state capital after another testifying on Erin's Law.
As of June 2015 Erin's Law is in 26 states and pending in 17 more.
I won't let SEX OFFENDERS silence our children anymore! I am taking back the power and control they have on our kids. I am one of those who will talk about it and will not let anything get in my way of bringing this epidemic in the spotlight. I am on an unstoppable crusade that has learned more in 30 years of life then I could have ever expected in a lifetime.
None of this could have been possible without my Faith in God. He has blessed me with an amazing life thus far and I am glad to call it my life. A life not defined by evil but how I have risen above evil and have embraced it with what I have discovered and that was my purpose in life and I'm just getting started. God has opened my eyes and heart more then I could have imagined showing me my purpose. A purpose that everything in our life happens for a reason even when it hurts so bad you question if this life is really worth living anymore. Believe me it is! The only way for this silent epidemic to change is for some people to make some noise and I cannot do it on my own. I need the voices of other survivors making some noise. The media addressing this epidemic and not ignoring it. Schools educating their students not pretending it doesn't happen. I came into this world screaming and I plan on screaming my crusade to end the silence until my final day not allowing anyone or anything get in my way. Nothing and I mean NOTHING will stop me.
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