Erin Merryn (born February 2, 1985) is the author of Stolen Innocence, Living for Today, and An Unimaginable Act. She is an activist against child sexual abuse. She is the founder of Erin's Law, which requires public schools to teach children personal body safety on the prevention of child sexual abuse. It is the first law passed in the US requiring sexual abuse prevention education taught to students in school every year. Erin's Law has been passed in 31 U.S. states. Erin worked with US Senator Gillibrand on the federal version of Erin's Law giving federal funding to the law. In December 2015 President Obama signed the federal version of Erin's Law under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Glamour magazine named her Woman of the Year 2012 and People magazine named her one of fifteen women changing the world and a HEROES Among us in 2013 http://people.com/human-interest/child-sexual-abuse-survivor-gets-law-passed/ .
Erin's media appearances include Oprah (three times), CNN (four times), the Today Show, Good Morning America, TLC, Nightline, FOX, MSNBC, Katie Couric, Nancy Grace and Dr. Drew. She has appeared in Time magazine, London Times, USA Today, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
In 2015 she was in TLC network documentary Breaking the Silence A one hour commercial free documentary around child sexual abuse. TLC also created a PSA on Erin and Erin's Law that aired during commercials for months on TLC.
Erin is a national spokesperson for the National Children's Alliance. She is the first survivor of child sexual abuse that went through a Children's Advocacy Center to speak on national television about her experience. http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/blog/child’s-best-defense-her-voice-here’s-how-we-amplify-it
Merryn suffered sexual abuse by a male neighbor at ages six to eight and by a teenage cousin at ages 11 to 13. According to her personal account, she told her parents about the latter after her sister confided that she had also been abused by the same relative. The family pressed charges, and the cousin eventually confessed to three counts of child sexual abuse. The case did not go to trial, resulting in the cousin receiving "some counseling, but no punishment".
She graduated from Schaumburg High School in 2004 and earned a Bachelor of Social Work from Western Illinois University in 2008. She earned a master's degree from Aurora University in social work.
Merryn advocates for sexual abuse victims. She published her diary detailing her cousin's abuse and her own recovery, relapse and reconciliation in book form as Stolen Innocence in 2005. In November 2009, she published a second book, Living For Today, discussing earlier abuse by her neighbor.
In 2010, she helped create Erin's Law. Erin's Law is the first law passed that requires children be taught sexual abuse prevention in school. The law has been passed in more than half the country.Stolen Innocence: Triumphing Over a Childhood Broken by Abuse: A Memoir (HCI, 2004; ISBN 0-7573-0282-3)
"Take Back the Night", Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul (HCI, 2005; ISBN 0-7573-0317-X)
Living for Today (2009)
An Unimaginable Act (2013)