In January 2016, we began providing services to survivors of sexual exploitation. I can't say I was fully prepared for what the year was going to hold. All I knew in that moment was that there was a desperate need for services and I had to do something!
Here we are, a full year later, currently providing services to ten women who are continuing their healing journey and some who are just beginning theirs. Their process of healing is not easy, but it is a privilege to walk alongside them as they break free and find their wings.
Part of our program is to cultivate the unique gifts and talents these ladies are discovering in themselves. A journey in which they are encouraged to dream, hope, plan for their future and find their purpose. That is why it is with great privilege that I introduce you to Selena. She is one of several survivors we have been working with since we launched our mentorship program in 2016.
Selena is a smart and bright young lady with a dream of becoming a writer. Because we believe in her and her dream, we want to give her the opportunity and the platform to cultivate her love and talent for writing.
I invite you to join her in this journey as she becomes our first survivor blogger.
-Cynthia Magallanes (Executive Director of Free Ever After)
Aristotle once said, “Love openly, for concealment is fear.” Throughout the course of my lifetime, I have looked for love in all the wrong places, and with all the wrong people. Misguided and naive, I was easily allured down Satan’s alley and found myself stuck in the pitfalls of the sex industry. I spent six years of my life deceived by the charade of glamour and fame, only to be more deadened and full of despair then before I had entered. I had developed a harrowing addiction to drugs and alcohol that consumed the majority of my days. The decisions I had made and the path I chose to walk along led me to the darkest and most dangerous crevices of the earth. I engaged in activities that I never thought I’d partake in. I had sold my soul to the devil, and with a smile. But the happiness was merely smoke and mirrors to the stage I was acting on. In the end I lost everything. More importantly, I had lost myself.
Broken beyond repair, I found myself under the mentorship of Cynthia and the Free Ever After Mentorship program in early 2016. I spent many therapeutic hours with her, healing the deep seeded and unforeseen wounds the industry had caused me. I began to realize I was indeed a victim, and that all the trauma that had incurred to me was not by choice. I was given solace about my past, and was able to derive to the conclusion that my past does not define who I am. I have come to believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior during my time with Cynthia, and the strength and redemption he has given me surpasses anything I could have ever dreamed of.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11). His love has filled the void in my heart, and has altered my perception of reality radically upon entering the doors of Free Ever After. I have now been clean and sober 10 months, and am proud to say I have been out of the sex industry 2 years. I am forever grateful for what this foundation has provided for me, and hope to give back in any way that I can. Everyday alive is a beautiful gift from God, and I don’t ever intend on wasting it.