CENTRAL SQUARE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Erin’s Law… its now in 37 states, including New York.
Its the first U.S. sexual abuse prevention education bill, requiring schools to implement a program for child sexual abuse prevention.
The woman behind the bill, Erin Merryn visited Paul V. Moore High School in Central Square on Friday, making it her mission to educate others.
She’s strong and brave.
“Both these men threatened me and I didn’t come forward until I found out he was also abusing my little sister,” said Merryn.
Six years… that’s how long Merryn was sexually abused.
First by her best friends uncle, and then by a family member. At just 13-years-old, Merryn broke her silence at a Child’s Advocacy Center.
“Now I’ve made it my mission to put a face and voice on this silent epidemic and educate people,” said Merryn.
Nearly a decade ago, Merryn introduced Erin’s Law in her home state of Illinois. Since then, she’s traveled from one state capitol to another, including New York.
Merryn added, “It was the 37th state to pass it and the most recent. I told legislators year after year I’m not going away because there are kids in New York waiting to be empowered on and speak up and tell.”
Now just a year in, Erin’s Law is being taught to kids in New York State, including students kindergarten through 8th grade in Central Square.
“Identifying sexual abuse or any abuse for that matter is the responsibility for all staff members. Its our job. We’re legally required as mandated reporters when we see something we have to report it,” said Tom Colabufo, superintendent of Central Square School District.
Merryn has traveled to schools across the country, now adding Central Square to the list.
“I think its great that they see the importance of me speaking to their educators because its my hope to help them identify a child that’s being abused. The warning signs to look for,” said Merryn.
Merryn’s mission doesn’t end there. She will now be heading to more schools and advocacy centers across the U.S. educating others about child sexual abuse prevention.
Erin’s Law is still pending in other states. Click here to learn more about the legislation.