INSPIRING COURAGE: Tegan Mathews shares her confronting and inspiring true story at the launch of her new book Facing Fears.
INSPIRING COURAGE: Tegan Mathews shares her confronting and inspiring true story at the launch of her new book Facing Fears. Patrick Woods

Story of confronting past aims to empower women

WITH a childhood plagued by physical, emotional and sexual abuse, Tegan Mathews had made an effort to focus on the future rather than the past.

But the 45-year-old decided to delve into the deepest reaches of her repressed memories to share her confronting story in the hope she will empower other women to face their own fears.

More importantly, to challenge the judgements of society that create shame and guilt around sexual abuse.

The Twin Waters resident's book, Facing Fears, tells the story of how Ms Mathews was adopted into an unstable family, where she was mistreated and abused for a decade.

"I was like a lot of people (in that situation) where I was told what was being done to me was what happened in every family," she said.

"One night, I was watching a documentary where I learned it was actually a criminal offence and I just sat there, frozen.

"I was realising the impact of that and how everything that had felt wrong in the past now made sense."

Ms Mathews was just 11 years old when she began to plan her emancipation.

She had run away, but the police brought her straight back to the house and it wasn't until she confided in a teacher that she was able to be removed from the family and placed into foster care.

Many years have passed and Ms Mathews has paved a successful career in business and has been a Fearless Living coach for more than a decade.

Ms Mathews began to write her story in July last year and said although the initial stage was more of a "download" of memories, the editing stage had been emotionally draining.

"It was at that point that I was able to look at the words from the outside in, and it was like I was looking at someone else all that had happened to," she said.

With practical tips on how to overcome fears and become an empowered person despite past events, Ms Mathews is hopeful the book will inspire courage in men and women everywhere.