It’s been two weeks since my appearance on the Oprah Show and I must say I have had a huge response from all over the world from it. Men and women from all walks of life sharing their support of Erin’s law and opening up about their own experiences with abuse.
Packages coming in from around the country on prevention programs, DVDs, books, etc. It is incredible material that I wish I could get into the hands of every parent and educator.
Speaking engagements have been pouring in everyday from all over the country and even offers across the world to come speak. One of my weeks come this spring I am going everyday from one state to the next. Iowa, Illinois, Corpus Christi Texas, Laredo Texas, then I finish the week off in New Jersey. I have speaking engagements booked as far out as September next year in the state of Washington. I just returned from San Diego this weekend and I am back in the sky Tuesday to Maryland until Thursday.
There is much more going on that I want to share but will when the time is right. Right now I need to focus on ‘Erin’s Law” my greatest passion right now is this law. I resigned in May from my job for this law. That is how dedicated I am to prevention of sexual abuse and protecting the innocence of children. I do it for that 6 1/2 year old whose memory still lives in me. I am fighting for what no one protected or educated her from when her screams went unheard and her voice stayed silent. I am doing it for that 12 year old who still did not know how to speak up began fighting back including the time in a bathroom as a family member pushed me into the shower and with everything in my power I fought back pushing to get him off me and out of the shower to the door he had locked to escape as he laughed at my efforts and saw terror in my eyes.
When people ask me where do I draw my strength, courage, and determination to be such a loud voice and passion for a law to protect the innocent I draw it from the memories I carry of what the 6,7,8, 11,12,13 year old Erin endured. Knowing I want no other child to carry that kind of horror and it allows me to forgive myself for not protecting myself as a child but now in a mission to educate and protect other children from it.
After appearing on the biggest show in the world and talking about the abuse and the destructive path it lead me down until I reached forgiveness and a passion for a law it made me do a lot of reflecting. Watching my interview with Oprah brought me back to thinking back 7 years ago when I was in that stage of thinking suicide was my only escape, thinking back even farther when I was told behind closed doors this is our secret, or even farther to a pinky promise to a best friend I wouldn’t tell anyone he raped me. Something that carries so much shame and silence around it and I was not only sharing it I was sharing it on the biggest audience of my life. I was giving the child I once was the justice she will never get in a court room but justice I have given that child is having her voice be heard. A voice that was told to stay quiet but instead has made a whole lot of noise.
Oprah called it “Erin’s Call to Action” on October 6th and now I need you to step up and take action on Erin’s law.
Erin’s law did pass in the Illinois Senate 54 yes/ 0 No votes. It now needs to be heard by the House during veto session November 16th. Once it is heard then it will be voted on after I testify and without a doubt it will get passed and then sent to the Governor to be signed. Here is where I need your help. If Erin’s law is not heard by the House during the 6 days of veto session starting November 16th then Erin’s law will become a DEAD BILL and will have to start all over again. I will NOT accept that and will cause many people a headache at the capital in Illinois. I think Illinois politics are starting to realize who they are messing with and I am a fire ball that can spread pretty quick. So in order to make sure Erin’s law is heard during veto session I need everyone to send the letter below to Speaker of the House Mike Madigan and sign it. Pass it on to your friends to send a letter. We need him to step up and make sure it is heard and not just “maybe” I don’t care what state you are from. The more states showing support the more eyes it will catch. Do it for all the little Erin’s in this world that are going to bed silent tonight.
Madigan 6500 S. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago IL 60629
Dear Mike Madigan,
I am writing to you, to urge you to move SB2843 from Rules Committee to Education Committee and have SB2843 also known as Erin’s Law heard and voted on during veto session. Erin’s Law would educate children pre-K through 5th grade in Illinois schools on sexual abuse in a child friendly manner, for the purpose of educating and protecting students from sexual abuse. Erin’s law also develops a task force that develops strategies to reduce and prevent sexual abuse in Illinois. SB2843 has no mandates or costs currently attached to it. Erin’s law SB2843 was recently discussed on the Oprah Winfrey Show who showed her support of the law.
One in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday.
Over 90% of child sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way whether it be a parent, other relative, teacher, babysitter, family friend, neighbor, etc. Therefore a lot of the times child sexual abuse victims don’t have a loving parent to tell them what is a safe touch and unsafe touch.
Currently Illinois has laws that require educators to go through trainings on sexual abuse ever few years. All Illinois school districts must educate children on internet safety and bully prevention programs. All Illinois children are drilled on tornado drills, bus drills, and fire drills. However nothing is written in law teaching children safe touch, unsafe touch, safe secrets, unsafe secrets, how to tell today and how to get away.
When a child is sexually abused they are scared, frightened, and don’t know what to do. Children who are sexually abused often don’t tell anyone they have been sexually abused, because they feel ashamed and guilty, they fear that they will anger their perpetrator, or because their perpetrators threatens them not to stay quiet and/or telling the child that no one will believe them, which can often times lead for the abuse to last for years at a time.
Please help prevent child sexual abuse by having Erin’s law SB2843 heard during veto session in November. Erin’s law is named after Erin Merryn who grew up in Illinois schools and never was given the knowledge and tools to tell when she was raped and molested from ages 6-8, 11-13. Erin’s voice was silenced by sexual predators as a child please don’t silence it in the House and help her be a voice for the children of Illinois. Call SB2843 during veto session this November.