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An Unimaginable Act

An Unimaginable Act: Overcoming and Preventing Child Abuse Through Erin's Law
An Unimaginable Act: Overcoming and Preventing Child Abuse Through Erin’s Law

 

Excerpts from An Unimaginable Act: Overcoming and Preventing Child Abuse Through Erin’s Law
Stolen Innocence

As I looked up from behind the dollhouse…I saw him standing there. I was already understandably terrified of this man because of what he had done to me the night I had slept over at Ashley’s house the year before. It was something I was reluctant to tell anyone about out of fear that he would come and get me if I told. I was terrified that he would be hiding in my bedroom at night waiting for me…. The sexual abuse began with Ashley’s uncle Richard when I was six years old…. until a month before my family and I moved. I was eight and a half years old when his physical terror over me ended.

Warned about strangers – not about family

I read an entry from my childhood diary to the audience that I wrote when I was twelve years old. This is what it said: May 1997. I sobbed the whole way home. A guy called Officer Friendly comes to school and teaches us not to answer the door when your parents are not home and don’t talk to strangers. They don’t teach us about people like my cousin Brian. I thought people like Brian jumped out of the bushes and attacked you at night. They never warned us in school about our own family.

Erin’s Law – Giving Children A Chance To Protect Themselves

When Juliana (Margulies) heard her state of New York was refusing to vote, she was furious… In a press release, Juliana stated, “Erin’s Law will give children a fighting chance, a voice, and the tools to help protect themselves. It should be passed in all fifty states. Common sense—it’s as simple as that.”

Title:  An Unimaginable Act: Overcoming and Preventing Child Abuse Through Erin’s Law
Author:  Erin Merryn
Publisher: HCI Books
ISBN: ISBN9780757317569

Erin Merryn essays her journey from a childhood in which she was sexually abused by an uncle of a friend and later by her own cousin, to her adulthood where she began to speak out about her experience, fight for the rights of children and eventually start a petition that resulted in what is called Erin’s Law. The law ensures the right of children to be empowered with the information and tools necessary to recognize and report sexual abuse.  Since Erin herself suffered due to lack of information and not knowing that she had the right to disclose what happened to her, she was in the best position to stand up for the rights of millions of children like her.

This is a story of the remarkable courage and faith of a young woman who fought her own demons and sought healing for herself. She moved from victim to a change-maker.

I found the book moving and inspirational.  The ARC copy I received from NetGalley for a review included her school reports etc.  This impeded the smooth flow of the narrative, for me.

When I read the book,  I was a little uncomfortable with the fact that she was allowed by her parents to correspond with her cousin (one of her abusers) to demand an apology.  However, after I watched this clip of Erin on The Oprah Show,  I understood how this actually impelled her towards healing and working to save children from abuse.
 

 
However, nothing can take away from the emotional appeal of the book and Erin’s strong voice for the rights of the innocent.

My rating [rating=4]

More about Erin Merryn:  She is the author of Stolen Innocence and Living for Today, both memoirs about child sexual abuse. Earning her master’s degree in social work in 2009, Erin dedicates her time to educating and empowering children. Her goal, through Erin’s Law, is to teach sexual abuse prevention to children in public schools. Erin was named Glamour magazine 2012 Woman of the Year for her efforts. She has appeared on CNN, The Oprah Winfrey ShowGood Morning AmericaOprah Life ClassIssues with Jane Velez MitchellTime magazine, Montel WilliamsLondon Times, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. To learn more about Erin and her mission, please visit www.erinmerryn.com.

 

13 Comments

  1. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg November 11, 2013

    It is so terrible that young children have to endure such painful things from their very own family members. Glad that Erin is working towards creating awareness and changing the system about CSA. More power to her and we must do our best to spread awareness about it too!

  2. Richa Singh Richa Singh November 10, 2013

    I had read a few lines of the book when you had shared it on facebook. And they alone convinced me it would be a good read. Now going through the review I realise its even better than what I had thought it would be. Child abuse by family members is a breach of physicality and also a sense of trust. It is worse when someone you know does it..

  3. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian November 10, 2013

    It’s really unfortunate that Erin suffered child abuse. But, it’s admirable that she has chosen to work towards preventing others from suffering similarly.
    Your well-written review has helped spread the message.

  4. Suzy Suzy November 9, 2013

    Very well written review. I like to see a few excerpts to ascertain if it resonates with me. However these gave me chills. Glad she is fighting for the cause. One that should never occur.

  5. Alka Alka November 8, 2013

    Innocent voices need strong words. Glad that more and more people are writing about it.

  6. Roshan Roshan November 8, 2013

    That girl has tremendous inner strength. And yes, I think at some level, even I would have thought twice before allowing her to correspond with one of the abusers.. closure is something that is so essential, isnt it.

  7. Diana Natasha Pinto Diana Natasha Pinto November 8, 2013

    The video was touching and I remember seeing Erin speaking out in the Oprah Winfrey’s show a few years back. She’s indeed courageous to speak about her experiences and it’s great that she has taken up the role and responsibility to educate others about child abuse. Not only Parents but children need to be educated about this serious issue too.

  8. Kalpana Solsi Kalpana Solsi November 8, 2013

    The sad part is that child abuse exists within the four walls of a house and the victim(s) suffer in silence but leave an un-erasable scar on the mind and body.

  9. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 7, 2013

    Powerful book. I’d like to check it out. I enjoyed your review, Corinne. Thanks for introducing the book. What a lot of strength it must take to want to help others who’ve gone through what Erin has.

  10. Rainbow Hues Rainbow Hues November 7, 2013

    Those are some very moving excerpts from the book. However, I am glad that she made the learnings from her life her mission, so she can save so many others from abuse.

  11. Kathy Combs Kathy Combs November 7, 2013

    It is awful that things like that go on in this world. It is important to have laws that protect children from their abusers no matter who the abuser may be.

  12. Michelle Liew Michelle Liew November 7, 2013

    This is a journey which I would like to know more about. Will have a further look!

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