Tonight I watched on facetime Governor Walker of Alaska sign Erin’s Law making it the 25th state. I love technology and what you can do these days. I felt like I was right there. Alaska was one of the hardest states to get it passed in. I spent a week there last year testifying on it and the bill died and had to be reintroduced this year only for session to run out and Governor Walker call a special session for Erin’s Law and the budget. Governor Walker and his wife are huge supporters of this law. I have reached the half way point 5 years later. Now just waiting for the Governor of Alabama to sign Erin’s Law where it recently passed leaving 24 states to go.
Many people do not understand where I get this passion and determination to pass this law successfully now in 26 states. I have been at it for 5 years now testifying from one state capital to another and nothing is going to stop me from reaching the 50th state to pass Erin’s Law.
I found my voice 17 years ago when I was 13 years old and broke my silence about my sexual abuse. By the time I found my voice I had already been sodomized, raped, and sexually abused for more than five years of my childhood beginning at the age of 6. If I had a video footage of my abuse to play for these legislators in each state it would give them nightmares for a very long time. Instead I have to tell them through the vivid memories I have in my own words to get them to understand the trauma I endured as a child.
Healing from child sexual abuse is a lifelong process. It never goes away. The saying, “time heals all wounds,” I don’t agree with. Time has nothing to do with healing. It has been more than 20 years since I found myself locked in my best friend’s bedroom with her uncle holding me down on a bed. 20 years later I can remember it all as if it happened last week. Pleading with an evil man to not hurt me then begging for my life as I thought he was killing me as he raped and then sodomized me more than once. I remember that piercing pain as if he was stabbing me with a knife. All I could do was scream. It is the closest thing I will ever get to being in Hell. My almost 7 year old mind could not comprehend why he was hurting me. What did I do to deserve this? I can still see the sweat pouring down his face and the blood in my underwear that made me terrified I was dying. Those final words to me that day from him were to keep it a secret or he would come get me. So that is what I did, I kept it a secret and that is what my childhood became. A life of keeping secrets because it wasn’t the last man I would be keeping secrets with.
When my cousin began abusing me at age 11 I soon found myself being threatened not to tell anyone. Over and over I would hear no one will believe you, this is our secret, you have no proof, and you will destroy our family. I can remember each and every one of those days crystal clear when he abused me. Down to the very words he said. Being trapped in the bathroom with him assaulting me, his parents walk in closet, in his closet, on his bed, in the basement, garage, even just standing there in the living room as he came up from behind me and told me not to move as he abused me. Many of the times in the homes of other relatives. The worst was the last time he would ever touch me. That was a night of so much fear and pain being chased through his home with only him, me, and two sleeping young children there. If you have ever seen a horror movie of someone being chased in a house by the bad guy in the movie this is exactly what I was experiencing. I was living my own horror movie. However in the movies they get away from the bad guy in my reality that wasn’t the case. I spent two hours locked in a bedroom with my cousin on top of me. I fought hard and eventually grew exhausted and the only thing I had left in me was to cry. When it was all done he simply looked at me like he had done so many times before and said, “Don’t tell anyone. No one will believe you if you do.” I remember seeing him disappear down the hallway and wiping away my tears hoping my aunt wouldn’t ask me what was wrong but of course she did. I lied and told her I fell asleep and woke up and rubbed my eyes.
My passion and determination to pass Erin’s Law and give kids a voice on how to speak up and tell comes from the pain I suffered and memories I now live with. I want no child to have to experience that and carry it with them the rest of their lives. So I will continue to use my voice, retell the days my innocence was killed, until every state will ensure children will get the education I never received.
As I continue down my own path of healing I want to heal this world and make it a better place just as I sang as an 8 year old in the green shirt in this video below.
Help me make it a better place. Contact your legislators to pass Erin’s Law if it hasn’t already passed in your state.