A childhood trauma is the driving force behind a bill that was successfully passed in Alaska's senate Friday.
The senate passed House Bill 233, also known as "Erin's Law", on Friday. The bill would require schools to teach children about sexual abuse and how to report it.
Erin Merryn, the woman behind HB233, was sexually abused before reaching puberty, and spent years believing that nothing could be done.
"When I was raped weeks before my 7th birthday and was molested from 11 to 13 by a family member, I did not know what to do because I was never educated in school on sexual abuse, so I stayed silent under their control and power," Merryn wrote on the Erin's Law Facebook page. "I was warned never to go look for the lost puppy when the stranger approached, I was warned never to take candy from a stranger, but it was not strangers that stole my innocence and took my childhood from me."
Now, Merryn is working with legislators from around the U.S. to make Erin’s Law a national standard for teachers and law makers, as well as children.
“The mission of Erin’s Law is to get education in all 50 states on the prevention of sexual abuse by empowering children with their voice instead of allowing sex offenders to silence them,” Merryn said.
The bill is now pending final approval in the committee, and the House will decide which version of the bill will be written into Alaska's statutes.