South Carolina becomes 16th state to pass Erin's Law
November 5th was the release of my third book AN UNIMAGINABLE ACT
You can read excerpts from the book posted on Katie Couric’s Website here.
This book is much more then just a book about my abuse experience and going after Erin’s Law.
It is a book anyone can pick up and will take away the message that nothing is impossible as long as you believe in yourself.
My goal in mind in writing this book other then pushing to protect children from abuse, was to motivate people from all walks of life that no matter what circumstances fall upon you in life you can rise above and overcome them.
Do your holiday shopping today and purchase this book for someone. Whether it is a parent with kids, a survivor of child abuse, or someone that is just going through a rough time in their life and need to be motivated and inspired this is the book for them.
I begin my third book: An Unimaginable Act with the introduction describing the worst day of my life at just the tender age of 6 weeks shy of my 7th birthday. Details of that day that have never been made public before. Details I have only ever shared with a therapist, my husband, and editor of this book. Details that expose just how evil one person could be. Such graphic details I questioned if it was too graphic for this book but I reminded myself if I could live through that horror at 7 years old then certainly people could read it.
In the Bible we are told, “Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”-Ephesians 5:11 I have taken the worst day of my life and many terrible days that would follow in the weeks, months, and years to come and by exposing them and have been living the best days of my life as a result. “Do not be overcome by evil but overcoming evil with good.”-Romans 12:21 By exposing the darkest days of my life it has shed light on the darkest days of the lives of others I come in contact with and here is just one example of thousands I could give you over the past 9 years.
Just after testifying last spring in Mississippi to lawmakers I joined hundreds of senators, representatives, and mental health workers from the state department of mental health who organized the luncheon for the legislators. When the director of the department of mental health heard why I was there he asked if I would get up and speak sharing what brought me to Mississippi and this mission I am trying to accomplish with Erin’s Law. After sharing with the audience briefly what happened to me as a child, my mission with Erin’s Law, I closed by telling them I know there are people in this room who endured the same painful experiences I did who have never told anyone due to being silenced and the overwhelming shame. Today is that day you take your voice back. Don’t spend another day carrying this secret set yourself free. Break your silence. That is when healing begins.” I stepped off stage had several mental health professionals come up to speak with me. One behavioral health hospital wanted to take me to speak to all their patients but it didn’t fit in my tight schedule. After talking to several people Representative Miles, who introduced Erin’s Law to MS, and I headed back towards the capitol building when another man in his early 40’s approached us.
“I just want to thank you for the courage you just showed up there and what you are doing to protect children now.” He said. Then the tears filled this man’s eyes as he struggled to get the words out he said, “I was one of those kids who was threatened into silence who didn’t know how to speak up and tell so I was repeatedly abused.” Representative Miles stepped away to allow this man to talk to me alone. “When did you finally break your silence?” I asked him. “Right now your the first I have ever told. My own wife doesn’t even know.” Tears just poured from this man’s face as he continued to share with me that his abuser was the principal of his school who would bring him into his office and assault him and told him because he is the principal nobody would ever believe him. “I believed him he was after all the principal of the school and nobody was giving me the message you are giving to kids through Erin’s Law to speak up and tell so I continued to suffer at the hands of this man for years.” I found myself hugging this man thanking him for his bravery and left him with the advice to go home tonight and tell his wife along with finding a therapist to talk to. He is a director that oversees an entire hospital in Mississippi but on this day I wasn’t talking to the director of a hospital but instead saw and heard the pain of a little boy who has been carrying a secret in silence for decades. It is time we give all those little boys and girls a voice as children and not wait until they are in their 40’s to be taught how to break their silence. I hope to get An Unimaginable Act into the hands in as many parents as possible because I can tell you right now unfortunately there will be parents that will finish this book and discover that their own child is carrying their own unimaginable act.
“You can’t change the past so change something you can….the future”-ERIN MERRYN
I remember looking up into this man’s face and could not understand why he was smiling by causing me so much pain as I cried begging him to stop. The innocent 7 year old that I was could not make sense of it. Raping me once was not enough he continued to torture me and raped me again. It only got worse from there and I thought he was killing. The pain was the worst pain I have ever felt. I thought I was dying as I lay there on that bed as he tortured me. He let me live only to discover my underwear full of blood as panic, fear, and confusion filled my young mind thinking I was now going to die. He never laid a hand on me again after age 8 ½ because we moved.
Looking into the eyes of a loved one, someone I looked up to as a brother figure suddenly holding me down on a bed restraining my arms above my head and laughing in my face because all my fighting to get him off me was getting me nowhere. I didn’t understand at 13 what I did to deserve this. I cried and pleaded for him to leave me alone instead I endured 2 ½ hours of him on top of me sticking his fingers and tongue where they never belonged. It felt like the night would never end. It was the last time he ever laid a hand on me 2 years after it began.
If reading that made you angry you’re not alone. Who would not be angry hearing about a child hurt in such a brutal way? These two men forever changed my life. The anger, rage, and hatred I carried for years towards them consumed me and that led me down a very destructive path to self-injury, suicide attempt, and an eating disorder.
Staying angry was only hurting me and nobody else. These men could not feel my anger, rage, bitterness, and hatred I felt towards them and the longer I stayed angry the longer Satan’s wrath consumed me. I was going to bed every night angry at these men for the pain they caused me and wishing terrible things to happen to them. I was overcome by evil and now wishing evil things to happen to them.
“In your anger do not sin “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Ephesians 4:26
As I continued down this path of anger I continued to follow a self-destructive path as my past continued to haunt me. For every day I stayed angry was another day of my life taken. These men already taken so many days, weeks, months, and years of my life? Why would I give them anymore?
After years I finally discovered I can’t spend another day in anger towards the men that showed me the worst days of my life. I was not going to let Satan take another day of my joy and happiness and courageously forgave both of these men. The dark thoughts wishing terrible things upon these two men changed to peaceful thoughts of God’s grace and protection of these men from Satan’s evil ways. I began asking God to rescue these two lost souls from Satan’s grip on their lives. It was too late for me to be rescued as a child but it wasn’t too late for God to protect them from Satan ever tempting them to hurt another child. I finally accepted I can’t change the past and needed to focus on something I could change….the future.
That is exactly what I have done by shedding light and speaking out against this evil by giving children a voice through an important law called Erin’s Law which requires kids in all public schools to be taught how to speak up and tell if they are ever abused. I won’t allow Satan to continue to inflict this brutal pain on the lives of children killing them of their innocence.
I’ve witness 5 kids in Kansas break their silence for the first time after hearing me speak in their auditorium on Erin’s Law and urge them to speak up if this has happened.
A man who is the director of a hospital in Mississippi heard me say the words as he stood in my audience, “I know there are people in this room who carry the same secret I carried. Let today be the day to break your silence and take back your voice.” After my speech this man approached me with tears in his eyes and said, “Thank you so much for your courage. I am one of those people who has to break their silence. You’re the first person I am telling my own wife does not know. I’m too ashamed,” as tears fell from his eyes and I just stood there hugging a man old enough to be my father.” He was the principal of my school and had such authority over me and told me because he was the principal nobody would believe me.”
I’ve had legislators break down and tell their own stories of abuse after hearing me testify. I’ve had mothers call me thanking me for giving their child a voice after speaking in their school. I’ve stood hugging and consoling so many grown men and women in tears thanking me for my courage, strength, and being a voice for the child they once were. I’ve witnessed so many people walk away from hearing me speak or finish reading a book I wrote and tell me you showed me what I need to do, I need to forgive. Forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself. It brings you freedom, peace, and joy back into your life. You set yourself free when you do it. You’re holding yourself prisoner inside without it.
God tells us in Romans “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Had I not made the choice to forgive I would still most likely be taking a destructive path of razor blades to my wrists, starving myself, battling dark thoughts of wanting to end my life, and wishing for terrible things to happen to two men who showed me evil exists. Instead I overcame evil, forgave, and now protecting the future by giving children the voice I never had. I’ve escaped Satan’s tight grip he had on my life. I’ve overcome the evil he exposed me to and turned it into something good and I pray every Sunday for the two men he used to show me that evil. For I have no hatred in my heart for them.
Are you going to continue to focus on a past you cannot change? Are you going to continue to give away another day of your life to anger, bitterness, and hatred? Are you going to let Satan have a grip on your life pulling you into a life filled with self-destructive behavior, pain, and anger or are you going to listen to what God is saying and discover his amazing grace he blesses you with when you do? The choice is yours.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:27-36
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21
“In your anger do not sin “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”- Ephesians 4:26
Click the link above to order Erin’s 3rd book.
I can’t believe how much my life is about to change. In just four days my father will walk me down the aisle in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin at an outdoor wedding. For the longest time this didn’t seem possible for me.
My innocence was killed, my trust was taken, and my voice was silenced. I reclaimed my voice more then a decade ago and have encouraged so many others to do the same.With that same voice I confronted and forgave two men who showed me early on in life that evil exists and many tell me they don’t deserve my forgiveness. It was easier to forgive them then ever trust another man since both these men showed me at a young age what can happen when you do. For the longest time there was only one man in my life I did trust and that has been my father. In four days the only other man I have come to trust will become my husband. It feels like it was just yesterday I was running away from another relationship because of fear and trust. I finally stopped running when I met David. Fear was replaced with feeling so safe and respected and suddenly I found myself only fearing that I would lose him. Unable to trust any men changed to trusting him with my life. Instead of wanting to run away from him I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. For so much of my life I have felt so alone in so many ways and I feared for years I would spend the rest of my life alone. In four days that will all change when I start this new chapter of my life not alone but standing across from the best thing that ever happened to me.
August 5, 2003 9:15pm (I wrote this in my journal 10 years ago that I published in my first book Stolen Innocence)
I often find myself wondering what my life will be like in ten years. I hold on to my dreams of getting my master’s in social work and being a mom. I wait for the day when I won’t feel like I am constantly living in my past. I want to hold on to the good memories, but I often find myself caught up in the abuse that has taken so much from me. -Stolen Innocence pg. 204
August 5, 2013 11:15pm
A decade ago I wondered what my life would be like in ten years. Never could I imagined as I wrote that ten years later I would be getting married that same week. I waited for the day I didn’t constantly feel like I am living in my past and how I later described in my journal how seeing my cousin that week at our annual beach picnic brings up so many painful memories. Here I am ten years later and I was feet away from him at our annual beach picnic yesterday and seeing him doesn’t bother me at all. Ten years ago that seemed impossible. I would be a mess the rest of the day flooded with flashbacks of him and nightmares at night. I’ve come a long way from that high school girl that wrote that a decade ago and yet I remember it like it was yesterday. It is amazing how much my life has changed since then. Never could of imagined I would be where I am today.
Taken out of my 2nd book Living for Today from 2009
“I have failed to find a relationship with someone who has a relationship with God. So I have decided to leave this in God’s hands, knowing He will lead the right person to me. At some point our paths will cross. I no longer live with the fear of being alone the rest of my life. I have faith that the right man is out there. He will respect and support me for who I am, and I can give my trust to him. Someday my dad will walk me down the aisle, and at the end of that aisle will be a man who I am in love with, has earned my trust, and is ready to spend the rest of his life with me. My future has already been written. The only person who holds the answers to what lies ahead is God. He holds the keys that will open the doors to my future. My vision of the future is bright. I know God is right here with me every day.”- Living for Today
God opened that door and lead me to the man He choose for me. Now I am about to start a new chapter of my life that I am so excited and thrilled for. He makes me so happy. At the same time I face new obstacles that were the farthest thing from my mind a decade ago. I saved myself for marriage. Giving myself away to the one and only person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Which means my only experience with sex was being repeatedly raped as a child. Nothing positive to compare it to. So you can imagine what that does to me. My biggest prayer the past year is asking God to make this a wonderful experience for me and not a painful reminder. For every bride this is suppose to be one of the best days of our life. I don’t want the best day of my life to come with being reminded of the worst day of my 28 years of life.
I know on Saturday I will be so caught up in the day and night of excitement, joy, dancing, socializing with all my guests, etc. that I won’t be thinking about any of this because I am far more excited then worried about being married.
Now thinking ahead 10 years from now wondering where my life will be in 2023 during my 10 year anniversary I think I will be the mother to 8 children and I will look back on this and say to myself, “I had anxiety about that. I had no idea what I was missing out on.”
Whatever happens at my wedding and from that day forward in my marriage I know I am with the person I love, respect, admire, who is faithful, feel safest with, trust, makes me laugh, protects me, and the best thing that ever happened to me.
I can’t wait to turn the page Saturday and start this new chapter of my life as a wife.
FEATURED VIDEO: Erin Merryn on “Oprah”
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September 26th, 2013I remember looking up into this man’s face and could not understand why he was smiling by causing me[...]
FEATURED VIDEO: Erin Merryn on “Good Morning America”