When I read letters daily of the lives I have impacted to break their silence, find their voice, or open up their eyes it reminds me back 8 years ago when I was just putting my first book together and weighing the pros and cons to going public. I have no regrets in putting a face and voice on a silent epidemic and there is still so much more to come. Just a small portion of the thousands of letters I have saved.
Your books touched my heart. Hearing your heart breaking story, and your amazing journey through healing and forgiveness, has given me hope for my own journey.-Miranda August 2010
Read it cover to cover in one sitting! Wow. You are a really great writer and I couldn’t put it down. What a story! I can’t believe that you lived through this horror twice. Can’t wait to see you in all your glory! Congrats on what you did and have accomplished!-Charla August 2010
No doubt, you have read many letters thanking you for encouraging them and explaining just how much your books meant to them. So, in a way, I suppose this won’t really mean much — but I wanted to tell you that after reading your books, I finally found the strength to speak up about what had happened long ago. I was sexually abused by one of my mom’s boyfriends when I was seven years old. Thank you so much for being a light and a testimony of God’s healing grace to everyone around you. Erin, you are such an amazing woman, and I am so blown away by all that you have accomplished. God has used you, and your story to inspire many, including myself, and encourage them to stop living in silence. Again, I cannot fully describe to you how much your story/work means to me. I am so completely inspired and encouraged by you, Erin. You are truly amazing. May God bless all that you do. You are in my prayers, and will forever be embedded in my heart as a hero and role model. Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. I hope that someday I can inspire others with my story in similar ways that you have inspired me. Emily 14 years old. Nov 2010
I know that we will never meet and I know that you probably hear from many people just like me. I am very admirable with what you have been able to turn your life into. I am so glad that you have been able to take your life and speak out to help others…. Others like you…and me.
Last Saturday, I began your book “Living for Today”. Tonight I finished. I am still trying to find my voice. Still trying to find answers. Still trying to get on with my life. After reading your book i feel a little more confident that i am going to be alright . I will find my voice. I will get my justice. I will not have to continue to be a victim but i need to start looking at myself as a survivor. Thank you for showing me that there is hope and good things can come. Jen March 2011
Dear Erin, I want to thank you for sharing your life story in your book Living For Today! I’ve never been much of a reader and when I do read daily I try to make sure it is the Bible. But in Jan. for a late Christmas gift I received your book in the mail from a friend of mine; who lives in Tn but he was in New York at a book store and came across your book and felt I might enjoy reading it because of some things in my life he knew about! That night I started reading your book and read til from @ 10:30 til 4:30am! Some parts I read over again; other parts I cried with you and felt like I was part of your family. Joyce- A Great Grandma March 2011
I just started reading your first book tonight, and wanted to write to you. My husband and I are considering adopting a girl in foster care who was abused by a family member, and I’m hoping your books can give me some insight into this experience. I’m only on page 35, and am amazed at your writing. Thank you for being such an outspoken advocate for children everywhere! Jenny April 2011.
I just finished your book Living for Today~ wow! Thank you for being so vulnerable & sharing your story.
Thank you for what you are doing!!! This epidemic has to end! You are a strong voice for so many! I pray God blesses you enormously! –Madison June 2011
I came across your book Living for Today at the library, just browsing through the non-fiction shelves. It’s a remarkable book You are a very strong woman. I respect you greatly, for your faith and your perseverance, as well as the hope and guidance you give to others. I’ve never experienced anything like you experienced, but we all have scars. Your story, however, helps put my own problems in perspective. You seemed, through forgiveness, to have found closure. At the same time, you also confessed that the pain will always be with you. Thankfully, there is a God to help us. –Colin June 2011
I came across your website about a month ago researching childhood sexual abuse and read about Erin’s Law. The reason for my writing is that my wife of almost 17 years has been living with a dark secret that she has kept to herself for 30 years. In March I came across several websites on her computer about suicide and childhood sexual abuse/incest. To make a long story short, I discovered that she was sexually abused throughout her childhood. She started having horrible flashbacks and anxiety attacks and I eventually had to place her in the hospital after she tried to hurt herself. She is starting EMDR trauma and was excited when she purchased your book. She has not read it yet, but I am half way through it. As an educator I look forward to seeing the materials that our being developed for schools on childhood sexual abuse. My wife is not to point of sharing her story with anyone, not even me, but pray that she gets to that point. I also would be interested in the near future hearing you speak as I am in the position to do this (I also would like for my wife to meet you). Thank you for your time and work that you do! Elementary School Principle August 2011
I’m 23 years old, and I’m from Israel… I just saw you on Oprah and was moved and shocked at the same time, feeling there are so many things I would have liked to say to you…
You don’t see that every day. You definitely don’t. Speaking so openly about what happened to you, asking the abuser for an apology, converting the state of Illinois to the state of lucky. and all of that by the age of 25. I can’t imagine how you got to the point when you said you were going to fight for yourself, and making something good out of it… I keep wondering how you got so courageous.
I had the opportunity to hear you speak Thursday at the INCASA conference. Your story and honesty was amazing. To hear you share your story with a room full of strangers was truly an inspiration and a gift. The work that you have done is amazing. I have been thinking about writing more about my healing process from childhood sexual abuse and rape in the hopes of one day having my memoir published not only as part of my own healing process but to help others who have gone through similar situations. Hearing you speak gave me the encouragement and the inspiration to do just that. I thank you for your courage to stand up and break your silence to help others. Melissa March 2011
My name is Maggie,
I just wanted to let you know that I am not even halfway through your book, “Living for Today,” and it has already made a huge difference in my life and how I think. When I was 14 years old I was raped and have been struggling now for 4 years just attempting to get over it. I did not know the guy and it was a scary, strange event that left me feeling so powerless in life and living in constant fear since that moment. So far, I had swept it under the rug, not wanting to deal with it, I recently bought an amazon kindle, like one of those electronic book readers, and decided to search on there, and when I put “incest” in the search, your book was the first one that popped up. I downloaded the free sample and without hesitation bought the full book. Like I said, I’m no where near close to done… the kindle tells me I’ve read 30% of it so I’ll go off of that… but so far, you have helped me to feel so much more empowered. I find it amazing how you had the strength to tell your parents and confront your cousin… and most of all, take on your whole family pretty much on top of it all. Just by reading this, I already feel like I can do it. I can go through life not having to keep my secret forever and hidden to everyone. I want to help other people in similar situations so badly, and can only hope and pray to be able to overcome it all as strongly as you have. Thank you so much.- September 2010
Hi erin my name is Mary, I have just finished reading your book stolen innocence and i wanted to say thank you for writing it. it gives me so much hope that this nightmare i call my life will get better and that one day i might be able to forgive and move on with my life I’m only 18 and I’ve been through sexual and emotional abuse all my life most recently from ages 9 to 13 and I’m on my way to starting college I want to be a social worker or maybe an advocate I’m not sure yet i just want to help kids. My dream is to be free from this Hell free from the constant fear the memories and the sadness people say I’m so strong but they do not know the half of it. I am thinking of volunteering this summer while i start my college classes. A lot of this may be irrelevant to you but i just wanted to tell you how much hope your book has given me that i can live a more productive life.
sincerely, Mary May 2010
Hello Mrs. Merryn:
I would like to thank you for writing the books “Stolen Innocence” and “Living for Today”. There are not enough words to express how much I appreciate your books. I am sorry that you had to endure such pain. No child should have to go thru that, but unfortunately it does happen. As I read your first book, I have to admit that I couldn’t put it down. I also have to tell you that it also scared me at the same time. As I read your story, I saw so much of my daughter in your character. I had to finish your book so that I could see what happened to “my daughter” sort of speaking. The words that you printed sounded like they were being said by my daughter. I could almost tell you the nightmares that you had but with a little different version. As I read your book, it was as if I was reading about my daughter’s life. I just wish that she was as brave as you are. I wish that she could find her voice like you did. – Kristen Nov 2009
In your book, I really related to you when you have the phone conversation with Brian. It has made me realize that I have to move on and take his apology for me to become complete. The main reason why I am not accepting his apology is because of my daughter, she has endured a lot of pain as a child. I do not want her to fall back into depression, grief, angry and more. I feels good to release some tense. We have gone through so many counselors, traditional/native healing for us to heal. The main reason why I email you was to say THANKS! for writing that book. I am very proud of you and continue your life long journey on being an advocate. I give thanks to your courage to expose the truth of abuse. I look forward on hearing from you! May god bless you and keep you strong! Rose Sept 2009
I recently read your book, Stolen Innocence. I can’t believe how closely it relates to my daughter’s experience. She is eleven and was also sexually assaulted by her older cousin. It happened on at least 2 occasions that she has spoken of. We confronted his family and got nowhere so we contacted the police. She has been through counseling and since he never admitted to it, we have no contact with that side of the family. She no longer sees her Grandmother or any of her cousins whom she was very close to. We are doing everything we can to move on and protect her. Thank you for writing your book. I have spoken to her of this book so she does not feel that she is the only one this has happened to. I know that she feels that way because she has expressed that. Wendy Feb 2009.
First I really want to thank you for both of your amazing books. I am a therapist with a child advocacy center here in Colorado and I have passed it along to many clients. It has made a huge impact on so many survivors.
I also want to thank you for your dedication to passing Erin’s Law. Preventing sexual abuse is one of my passions as well. Recently i have created a class for parents that i am providing as part of our center’s preventive programs. I was wondering if you are aware of any programs like this — that work specifically with parents to teach them strategies on how to protect their kids. I would love to have some colleagues to share ideas with, but I am having a really hard time identifying any groups offering similar classes to parents. Any direction would be greatly appreciated, and thanks again for all of the great work you are doing! March 2011