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Stolen Innocence: Triumphing Over a Childhood Broken by Abuse: A Memoir [Paperback]

Erin Merryn

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2005
Eleven-year-old Erin Merryn's life was transformed on the night she was sexually abused by her cousin, someone she loved and trusted. As the abuse continued, and as she was forced to see her abuser over and over again in social situations, she struggled with self-doubt, panic attacks, nightmares and the weight of whether or not to tell her terrible secret. It wasn't until a traumatic series of events showed her the cost of silence that she chose to speak out-in the process destroying both her family and the last of her innocence.

Through her personal diary, written during the years of her abuse, Erin Merryn shares her journey through pain and confusion to inner strength and, ultimately, forgiveness. Raw, powerful and unflinchingly honest, Stolen Innocence is the inspiring story of one girl's struggle to become a woman, and a bright light on the pain and devastation of abuse.

Stolen Innocence is written with conviction and clarity. [Erin Merryn] doesn't hold back, and I respect her honesty and openness...By the end of the book, I thought I was reading passages from a much older adult than a high school senior. Erin has grown into a strong, wise, intelligent, perceptive, spiritual, caring adult."
--Susan Reedquist, The Children's Advocacy Center


Frequently Bought Together

Stolen Innocence: Triumphing Over a Childhood Broken by Abuse: A Memoir + Living for Today: From Incest and Molestation to Fearlessness and Forgiveness
Price For Both: CDN$ 26.06


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (Jan. 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757302823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757302824
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.2 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #367,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Erin Merryn earned her masters in social work in 2009. She has been interviewed by a number of media outlets including  Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN, and London Times, among others. She was named a Glamour Magazine 2012 Woman of the Year and is the force behind getting "Erin's Law" passed. Her mission is to take this law national as a means to protect children from sexual abuse.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Innocence


'A child's innocence is priceless.'


Author unknown

 

May, 1996 8:00 p.m.
On Wednesday, January 30th, 1985 my mom went into labor. Fifty-seven hours later she gave birth to me at home all naturally on a waterbed. She decided with all her pregnancies not to take any medication for pain. I was twenty-one inches long and eight pounds eight ounces. My parents named me Erin Merryn, pronounced Mur-rin, but my dad's family pronounced it Mare-in. 'Erin Mare-in.' They thought it was funny. My middle name was changed to Elizabeth a month later. I like Merryn better. As a baby I was very shy and quiet until around two and a half years of age when I started talking and wouldn't stop. I would talk to just about anyone I saw. At three years old a priest told me his name was Father Deimer. I asked him 'Whose father?' and he answered me that he was everyone's father, my father, my parents' father, my grandparents' father and even their parents' father! I gave him a funny look and said, 'Who are you God?' Everyone got a good laugh especially since it was coming from a three year old. I was considered a daddy's girl from the start. I'd always be sitting by the door waiting for daddy to come home. My mom was a stay-at-home mom raising three girls. I was the middle child. I always enjoyed my mom's macaroni and cheese, which included a song my mom made up that we would sing at lunchtime. Dad works hard running his own business. As a little girl I'd look forward to my kiss, hug, and a high five I received from my dad before he left for work. My sisters are Allie and Caitlin. Allie is two years younger then I. Caitlin is the oldest and three years older than I. My childhood has been filled with trips to the zoo, amusement parks, beaches, trips to Michigan to camp and visit the sand dunes. I never had to go far to have fun. In my own back yard were a swing set, playhouse, and a huge wooden sandbox my mom made and filled with sand. My street was filled with children so anyone who drove down it could hear the screams and laughter of kids. Down the street lived three boys around my age and they were friends of Allie and me. Across the street lived Caitlin's best friend, Carey. The two of them were inseparable. The sidewalks down our street were designed with colorful sidewalk chalk drawings and the driveways were filled with bikes, wagons, and strollers. When it was time to leave for school, the neighborhood kids would meet at our house and my sisters and I would walk with everyone. There was a park down the street from our house that all the neighborhood kids would play at. We would also ride our bikes or roller skate in the tennis court. Summer is the season I've looked forward to most. Running around the neighborhood barefoot with my sisters and neighborhood friends. The hot summer days are always spent in the backyard in the sprinkler or plastic pool. Most of my weekends are spent in Wisconsin at my cottage, which my parents bought when I was one year old. Two years ago I experienced my first big adjustment. WE MOVED! It wasn't far from where I grew up. It is still in the same town and only about five minutes away. The new house backed up to a pond and has a path that leads to the elementary school. Not only did I have to get used to living in a new house, but also a new school. My best friend was moving too, but she was moving all the way to Arizona. Her name was Shannon and I haven't heard from her since I moved two years ago. Although the move was difficult I adjusted well and soon made a new best friend. Her name was Jessica and she was the first one to talk to me when I started my first day at the new school. She was in my class and it was the start of a friendship. The summer after our move we spent most of our time going to our summerhouse and playing at the beach. I also brought Jessica up to Wisconsin where we were dressed in matching red, white, and blue dresses for the annual forth of July parade at the beach. My mom had made the dresses. After a summer of going to the pool, my Wisconsin cottage, fishing in the pond, and the summer day camp run by the park district, it was time for another school year to begin. Another person that came into my life when we moved was Emily. She moved across the street a week after we moved in. So she was new to the neighborhood, too. My sister Allie and I became really good friends with Emily, spending most our time hanging out with her. Early in the school year I learned that Jessica's dad's job was being transferred to Indiana. It was very sad and it was at this time in my life I began to realize that life isn't always fair.

Today I am eleven years old. My mom bought this diary for me at the mall today while shopping with my sisters and me. I live in Illinois and spend a lot of my time in Wisconsin. Both my parents come from large families, but it is my dad's family that we are close with. They all live very close. My Aunt Mary and Uncle Scott live just down the path from us. They have four boys. Jake is their baby. Then there is David, Mike, and Brian the oldest. Mike is my age and Brian is a couple years older then I. I sometimes spend more time at their house than my own since they live so close. My dad comes from a family of seven kids. So during the holidays it is a house full of people. At my summer house I spend the day at the beach, on the boat or in town. At night we do campfires and roast marshmallows while mom tells ghost stories. I love watching the sunset or lying under a blanket of stars in the sky at night. During winter we come to Wisconsin and either go on our snowmobiles, if there is enough snow, or go into town and see the ice sculptures. I also like building snowmen or catching snowflakes with my tongue.
As far as school goes I am about to finish fourth grade. I had an awesome teacher this year. Her name is Mrs. Ackman and she has been the greatest. We just went on our school field trip to Springfield. We took a coach bus and left at six in the morning. We saw some interesting places. My favorite was Lincoln's Memorial. For dinner we stopped and ate at an Old Country Buffet. I sat with all my friends. We didn't get home until after ten. My dad had to come get me off the bus since I'd fallen asleep on the way home. The next day at school all we did was talk about Springfield and watch movies. All together it was a fun experience. One I will look back on for years. I do very well in school except for math. I struggle with all the equations. I would rather spend my time daydreaming then learning my multiplication tables. Reading and writing are my favorite. Well, it is getting late so I better end this here for the night. I need to get some sleep. My prayers tonight are for all the sick children who are in hospitals and aren't fortunate like me to have such a happy and healthy life. Good night!

Erin


June, 1996 4:15 p.m.
It's the last day of school. I am sad because I have made so many new friends this year. One of my very best friends this year was the new girl, Asha. She has very long black hair. Hopefully we will have fifth grade together. I am going to miss Mrs. Ackman, but she told me I have a great teacher for next year. I am excited for summer to spend it going up to Wisconsin. I can't wait to go to the beach. My uncle and dad take my sisters and I along with our cousins tubing. I tend to go very slow because I am terrified of speed. My sister Allie and I bring up our best friend, Emily. Emily is Allie's age, but we both hang out with her. Emily likes to do lemonade stands with us during the summer. We even sell homemade peanut butter cookies that my mom baked. My grandparents also have a summerhouse and condo in Wisconsin. All my other cousins stay at my grandparents' house when they come up. My Aunt Jenny is getting married next month and I'm a flower girl. My sister Allie and our cousin Molly are also flower girls. A bunch of my relatives are flying in from around the country for the wedding. My mom just came in my room and told me to pack my suitcase for Wisconsin. I'll write more later.

Erin


June, 1996 6:20 p.m.
My summer is going good. Today was a fun day. Allie, Emily and I spent the day playing with our dolls. We took them on walks in our strollers to the park and pushed them in the swings. When we came home we played school. I was the teacher and they were my students. We played for a ­couple hours and then Emily had to go home for dinner. She is coming back later to spend the night. My sister just came in my room to tell me dinner is ready. We are having chicken pot pie, one of my favorites.

Erin


July, 1996 10:05 p.m.
Well, my Aunt Jenny got married. It was a fun wedding. Being a flower girl was exciting. There were hundreds of people there. The reception was the best part of the wedding. We did a lot of dancing and didn't get home until really late. It was a night to remember. We later went up to Wisconsin and went over to a house where relatives were renting. We did a bunch of dancing and videotaped the whole party. The fourth of July was also spent in Wisconsin. Our private beach association does a parade each year. We decorate our golf cart and wear our American dresses in the parade. After the parade we eat hotdogs and spend the rest of the day at the beach swimming. Our beach has a slide and a pier that has a diving board and then a raft you have to swim to that has another diving board that is a high diving board. I play a water game with my cousins and sisters called, 'rag tag.' It is like the game tag, but instead you have a rag you throw at a person. We also play king of the raft and chicken fights on the diving board. So far my summer has been a blast. This week I am having a lemonade stand with Emily and Allie. We are also walking to the store and going shopping together. I'll write more another day. Good night.

Erin


July 1996 10:45 p.m.
I'm having such a fun summer. I spent the weekend at the beac...


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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!!!! June 10 2005
By Meggen Patterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book in a different situation than most...I read it knowing the author!!! Having grown up with her and her family, and being very close with them, while reading the book I knew exactly what/who/where she was talking about throughout the whole thing. This is a wonderful and amazing book that everyone should read! The facts in this book are sad but true details that everyone should look for...this sort of abuse is nothing to be in denial about when it comes to your family/friends or whoever else. It can be dealt with...as Erin proves in her book because of her strength. Erin, the author, of this incredible book is a truly magnificent, beautiful and intelligent young woman that is going to go so far in life...because she held her head high and shared her story only to help other young women across the country have the same power to come forward about this horrible action that takes place so often! AWESOME!!!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stolen Innocence: A Must Read Sept. 26 2005
By Jacqueline H. Sollers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found Erin Merryn's book by chance in the bookstore. I'm glad I did. I started reading the book and finished it in one night. Erin tells her story by using diary entries that she made at the time the abuse was taking place. She doesn't hold back. The result is a book that gives the reader the true horror of sexual abuse and its devastating effects on young girls. Stolen Innocence is a book that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. The story is heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time. What I liked about the book was how Erin educates the reader on the harsh realities of sexual abuse in this society by citing statistics. From there, she takes the reader on the horrifying journey of living with sexual abuse day in, day out. You feel the fear and pain with every word she writes. Sexual abuse is a topic that many tend to "push under the carpet." I applaud Erin for the courage she displays, for her ability to convey her story, and for being a survivor of sexual abuse. The communication between Erin and her abuser is a great addition to the book. Erin allows the reader to witness her raw emotions as she confronts her abuser in a series of emails. This book would be helpful to survivors of sexual abuse and to those who desire to help a loved one who has been abused. A great read!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read" for Parents! June 2 2005
By Sherri J. Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I purchased and read Erin's book after reading a post that she made in a forum site that is dedicated to healing and surviving child sexual abuse. I was engrossed in the book from the first page. Erin also includes in her book a chapter that her mother has written which touched me to the soul. Both Erin and her mother testify to their struggles as a result of their abuse; Erin's mother's chapter is a must read for parents who are dealing with the abuse of their children when they themselves have been a victim of the same trauma. I commend both of them for their efforts in getting the message out about how to deal with the fact that abuse can happen in ANY family. To parents that feel that abuse wouldn't happen in their family, please read this memoir. Abuse does happen no matter how much we think that we can trust our family members; with the right approach to how to deal with the abuse when it is uncovered, I believe that all parties involved can find forgiveness and healing. Child Sexual Abuse should never be the "dirty little secret" that most families carry when abuse is discovered in the home. Action must be taken so that all members involved receive the support and recovery that they need. To deny that it would happen in your own home, could possibly mean that your denial allows the abuse to continue. This is a "must read" for those that want to protect their family, as well as those that have already had the trauma that Erin and her family faced when she disclosed her abuse.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING March 29 2005
By Charlie Hater - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
this book is absolutley amazing. the way that erin describes what is going on is incredible. it makes you feel as if you are actually living her life and feeling the things that she felt. a must read for everyone
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells The Story Of Many Feb. 7 2006
By Sandy Beach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Giving voice to unspeakable abuse is what prevents it from propagating. Only when it remains in the dark is its sinister purpose accomplished. This young woman was able to finally put aside her own fears and come out of the shadows to illuminate the disconsolate corners of her life that had been concealed from her parents and even her own sister.

I read the book cover to cover in one sitting and had to choke back tears of recognition in several places. The book resonated deeply within me as we had a somewhat similar situation in our own family. Often, the revelation is as traumatic as the original abuse with the survivor suffering much more than the perpetrator even in the punishment phase.

Nonetheless, Erin has sparked a flame that now needs to be passed among survivors and their supporters to shed light on a subject that is too often veiled by silence.

Together we can bring light to the suffering. As survivors we need to continue to speak out, to support one another, and educate the public to prevent the growing scourge of sexual assault and child molestation. Thank you Erin for lighting the candle.

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