Sexual violence and personal security

My name is Erin Merryn, I am a 30 year old from the suburbs of Chicago. My mission in life is to give kids a voice and put sex offenders out of business. Just weeks shy of my 7th birthday I was raped by my adult neighbor. It was so brutal I thought I was dying. I remember being so utterly confused. Memories of that day are seared in my memory. The abuse continued until I was almost nine. This man had threatened me that he would hurt me if I told anyone. No one would believe me.

My abuse ended when we moved. Little did I know by moving I was getting that much closer to my next abuser. From the age of eleven to thirteen I was repeatedly sexually abused at the hands of a family member, an older cousin. I found myself locked in bedrooms, basements, bathrooms, car, garage, etc. and assaulted by my cousin. He also told me no one would believe me, I had no proof that he was doing this, I would destroy our family if I told anyone. So I stayed silent.

The only message I got as a child came from my abusers and that was to stay silent or else. I went to bed night after night crying into my pillow having nightmares, and keeping my secrets locked away in my childhood diary.

I found my voice at 13 when my younger sister said the words I will never forget, “Brian’s gross!” Brian was the cousin abusing me and now I was finding out he was abusing her.

I believe everyone is born with a purpose and I found my purpose through the pain that has taken place in my life. I decided at a young age to take a stand against evil and be a voice for the voiceless.