Rowena Mathews is a survivor of years of childhood sexual abuse and displacement from her family home after her stepfather molested her as a six-year old and her mother, involved in prostitution and drug addiction, lost custody of her. At 18, her mother introduced her to crack cocaine and prostitution. Her life was filled with violence, drugs, and homelessness. After a lifetime of trauma and exploitation, Ms. Mathews found guidance and support at Breaking Free and is now a mentor to other vulnerable women and girls.
“It took me until I was almost 30 years old to realize that it’s not right for a man to sexually abuse you, to make you do anything you don’t want to do. It should be consensual. It should never be forced. It’s sad that I’m learning that at my age, but at least I know that today. My story hurts. It’s the truth that sets me free.”