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