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WIU alumna Erin Merryn is the author of "Stolen Innocence," "Living For Today" and "An Unimaginable Act." Her law, "Erin's Law," which requires sexual abuse prevention to be taught in schools, has passed in 25 states in the U.S. as of Thursday (June 4, 2015).
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Alumna's Effort to Pass Law to Protect Kids from Childhood Sexual Abuse Hits Milestone This Week

June 5, 2015

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MACOMB, IL — A Western Illinois University alumna's personal crusade to pass Erin's Law, a law to help protect children from sexual abuse, reached a milestone Thursday. Erin Merryn, who received her bachelor's degree in social work from Western in 2008, has hit the halfway mark in her goal to get a child sexual abuse prevention law passed in all 50 U.S. states. Thursday, the law passed in Alabama. This past Wednesday, it passed in Oregon, as well. The law requires sexual abuse prevention to be taught in schools.

Merryn is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and has written three books on the topic since her graduation from Western. Thursday, on the Erin's Law Facebook page, Merryn posted about her personal push to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse and to get the law passed in the U.S.

"[Five] years ago 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 do to make it better here for you?' I explained to him, 'I don't need any more time to think. I have already made up my mind, and I am going after passing a law in Illinois that will require that we teach kids about sexual abuse prevention. I can't work full time and work on this law. Kids' lives are more important to me than a paycheck," she wrote. "Never could have I imagined, when I had that conversation, that five years later that law has now 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."

Recently, Merryn has provided commentary on CNN, MSNBC and the Today Show regarding a childhood sexual abuse media story involving a reality television family.

Merryn first spoke to a crowd about her personal sexual abuse at a WIU Take Back the Night rally and march at Hanson Field in 2004.

For more information about Erin's Law, visit the Facebook page at

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (
Office of University Communications & Marketing