A local bridal shop in Tucson is marking nearly a decade of making a difference.

Free Ever After Bridal on Broadway sells used wedding dresses, and gives part of their proceeds to charities that support survivors of sexual abuse. It’s a personal cause for the owner, and some of their brides.

“I’m a survivor, an over-comer of sexual abuse, childhood sexual abuse and exploitation,” said the owner, Cynthia Magallanes. “And so I grew up feeling like I was unworthy of having a white dress for my own wedding, because I wasn’t pure or whatever.”

When Magallanes got married 16 years ago, she struggled to overcome that feeling.

In a conversation with my fiance, who’s now my husband, he said to me, ‘That’s not who you are anymore. So you deserve to wear a white dress if you want to wear a white dress,’ and so that met redemption for me. That was restoration for me. And so the wedding dress has symbolized freedom and redemption,” she said.

A few years later, Magallanes opened Free Ever After, to bring that same feeling of empowerment to more women. The dresses and veils are either donated by women who have worn them in their own weddings, or donated by other bridal shops. Occasionally they take consignment as well.

“The purpose was that we resell the dresses and portion of the proceeds go to fund services,” explained Magallanes. “I didn’t have services going up and I wanted to be able to provide services to girls that have experienced that level of trauma, while also have fun helping our beautiful brides buy dresses at affordable prices!”

Now, they’re helping both brides and survivors, especially when they’re one in the same.

“When I saw how this shop helps sexually abused women, it really spoke out to me,” said Ashley Khoury, “just because I am one of those survivors.”

Khoury just got married in September, in a dress she got from Free Ever After. It was the first place she went wedding dress shopping.

“My dress is more of a unique one just because it is not white. It is red,” she said. “So when I was coming in, I was looking at all the white dresses, but when I actually saw it hanging on the rack, I immediately thought ‘I can see myself in this. This is my dress.'”

In buying the dress that made her a bride, Khoury and Magallanes are paying it forward, helping more women and girls overcome abuse through local and national organizations.

Proceeds from sales at the store go to groups like Beauty from Ashes Ranch, which is a care facility for children rescued from sex trafficking, and Emerald of the Sea which is a national program to support survivors of sexual abuse. “

“I was the first one to go through the process of healing,” Magallanes said. “And through that I’ve been able to impact I would say hundreds of women.”