The 25th state passed Erin’s Law today! Half way there!
Yesterday it was Oregon that passed it. Today it was Alabama.
My own state senator told me 6 years ago he agrees with educating kids on sexual abuse prevention, but said he won’t introduce my law because it will never pass. Good thing another Senator in Illinois named Tim Bivins saw my passion to protect kids. He introduced Erin’s Law after police chief Dan Langloss told him he had to meet me and hear what I wanted to get passed.
5 years ago on May 1st, 2010 was my first day unemployed. I had just resigned from my job as a youth and family counselor. When I handed my boss my letter resigning he tried to convince me to stay and even handed my letter back to me and said, “Think about it some more over the weekend. What can I make better for you here?” I explained to him I don’t need anymore time to think. I already made up my mind and I am going after passing a law in Illinois that will require we teach kids sexual abuse prevention. I can’t work full time and work on this law. Kids lives are more important to me then a paycheck.
Never could I have imagined when I had that conversation 5 years later that law would be passed in 25 states. Getting a law passed in one state is hard enough. (Vermont and Texas already required this law before 2010)
Erin’s Law is working. It seems every week now I am getting a phone call from a police department, teacher, counselor, mother, prevention educator, etc. telling me they had a disclosure because a child or children were just taught Erin’s Law.
A police department informed me they just closed a case with a 12 year old who had been sexually abused for 4 years by a relative. When they asked her why is she now speaking up after 4 years she said, “We learned Erin’s Law in school.” Her relative confessed in police custody.
Students in an Illinois school spent 2 days learning Erin’s Law. On the second day a boy in a self-contained classroom disclosed he was being sexually abuse to his teacher.
Two sisters 7 and 9 disclosed right after being taught Erin’s Law in school. Their abuser was just given a 40 year prison sentence.
A mother told me she had talked to her kids about personal body safety so when the letter came home that Erin’s Law was being taught she thought my kids already know what to do if this happens. Little did she know her daughter was being sexually abused and it took learning Erin’s Law in school for her finally to disclose.
2 weeks ago this letter was sent to me by a school counselor.
I am a school counselor at an elementary school (3rd-5th) on the southwest side of Chicago. I do not know how to thank you for your courage and ambition with Erin’s Law. Your movement has encouraged 3 of my students to come forward and report this school year alone! It is unsettling how many children live in silence and I thank you for bringing this often avoided subject to light. My one little girl in 4th grade reminds me SO much of you and your story. We talk about you every day and you are her hero. She has looked up to you and has started her own movement here in our school building. She took your message to heart that we shouldn’t be ashamed of what has happened to us but should instead use it as fuel to our fire to go out and change our world. She has designed her own signs which she took upon herself to be approved by the principal so that she can display them all over our school. They encourage kids to “not be afraid to tell” and has had every student and teacher in the building sign it. She really is on a path to make a difference with you as her role model. I want you to know how much of a difference you are making in my students’ life as well as so many others. Her and I can’t thank you enough!
Last week I was contacted once again. A woman explained to me her mom works in a daycare. When her mom asked the kindergartners what they learned in school today they brought up Erin’s Law and told her what it was. A 5 year old girl then took her mom aside and told her all the terrible things her uncle was doing to her. She contacted the authorities immediately. Police ended up finding tons of child pornography all over his computer. I was told that alone is going to put this guy away for a long time. The father was devastated crying to the daycare worker after the arrest and stunned that his own brother did this to his innocent daughter. Just think how many more years this man would have abused this little girl and likely more kids had she not been taught Erin’s Law.
Over the past 5 years since going after Erin’s Law there have been some pretty big national news stories on child sexual abuse to name a few: Jerry Sandusky, 7th Heaven Dad Stephen Collins, and now in the Duggar home. Do you notice a pattern with all three of these stories. It wasn’t the stranger danger all these kids had learned about but someone they knew and trusted.
This is why I get in front of these legislators from state to state and tell them they have no choice but to pass this law. I’m not going away until you do.
There are 25 states left and nothing is going to stop me from getting it passed in any of those states. These stories are just some of the many I have heard. There has been some stressful days and long nights traveling from capital to capital to get this law passed. It’s also no secret I have dealt with some difficult legislators and still dealing with some of those legislators. They slowly discover I don’t take NO for an answer and I am NOT going away until they pass this law. What these legislators don’t know is that God has already told me I will get this law passed in all these states. That is where my confidence comes from. He put me on this path and I am going to finish what He set out for me to do.
I will get up again tomorrow and do it all over again. Fighting to protect and educate children and put sex offenders out of business.
You can catch me tomorrow morning at 7 am hour on the TODAY show ABC Nightline at 11:35pm CT