Note: this article contains a sensitive subject matter.

Erin Merryn is a childhood sexual assault survivor, author, speaker, and activist. She's the president of Erin's Law, a 501 (c)(4) non-profit social welfare organization. Merryn is coming to Billings on May 4th for a speaking engagement at the Big Horn Resort. The event is free for educators, child abuse activists, and the general public. Seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Register HERE.

Image via YouTube/Erin's Law
Image via YouTube/Erin's Law

A law passed in Erin's name is now on the books in 38 states.

Merryns tragic story of childhood sexual abuse and trauma is sadly far too common. She was abused by a neighbor from age six to eight. It didn't end there. Later, she experienced repeated sexual abuse by a cousin from age eleven to thirteen. Both perpetrators threatened her to remain silent, and for years she did.

Erin documented her traumatic experiences in her childhood diary, eventually coming forward as a teen, ending the abuse, and taking the first steps toward healing. Her advocacy led to the passage of an Illinois law dubbed "Erin's Law"; the statute  - or similar laws - is now active in 38 states including Montana.

What is Erin's Law?

Erin's Law enacts state-mandated child sexual abuse prevention measures in public schools. The law teaches:

  • Students in grades pre-K – 12th grade age-appropriate techniques to recognize child sexual abuse and tell a trusted adult
  • School personnel about child sexual abuse
  • Parents & guardians the warning signs of child sexual abuse, plus needed assistance, referral, or resource information to support sexually abused children and their families.

Montana passed Erin's Law in 2017 when Governor Steve Bullock signed the legislation presented by Representative Ed Reeft into law, a day after North Dakota approved similar legislation.

The event is sponsored by the Yellowstone District Exchange Clubs.

Erin Meryyn's presentation will be held at Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane in Billings. Doors will open at 10:15 am and the program will begin at 10:30 am. It is free. Additionally, Merryn will hold a book signing following her presentation. Her book, “Stolen Innocence” will be available for purchase.

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