Saving Our Daughters From the Street: Lisa Williams’ Living Water for Girls
She came in kicking and screaming. Bound by law enforcement, this 12-year-old child was cussing and fussing as she entered the Living Water for Girls home. She was angry and rightly so. After all, this girl had been bought and sold as a prostitute in hotel rooms and in strip clubs since she was nine years old.
Her rage didn’t subside once she got in the home. She went to throw a piece of furniture when the home’s founder and operator, Lisa Williams, stopped her.
“Sweetie, we’ve got seven acres out here and we’ve got a whole lot of trees and everything else, if you want to throw something you can go outside and throw something but you don’t break up furniture in this house. That’s not what we do here and you’re not going to fight my staff because that’s not what we do here.”
The girl, unmoved, turned to Williams screaming at the top of her lungs, “You don’t understand I’ve been fighting all of my life. All I know how to do is fight!”
These are the types of girls Williams’ home rescues. Girls who have been exploited by adults who want to have sex with them for their pleasure and perversion.
While the job is not always easy, it was something Williams had to do. She was compelled to act by an article she read in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Accompanying the article was a picture of a 10-year-old girl in an orange jumpsuit with shackles around her ankles. She, and not the men who had bought and sold her, was being charged as a prostitute. Williams was outraged. But instead of reading the article and dismissing it from her mind, like many of us often do, she took it upon herself to do something. Initially, she solicited friends to raise money for another organization; but in 2007, she decided to start her own refuge for prostituted girls.
It was with that goal in mind that Williams went out into her community, knocking on doors to raise money and awareness for the problem and the home she intended to build to help solve it.
“I believe if people knew that this was happening in their own backyards, in their own communities, to their own daughters and sisters, they too would be outraged and would want to do something. And so with that as our premise, we began to tell the story and people began to say ‘how can I help?”
In one year that generosity translated into a quarter of a million dollars. With those donations and partnerships with local churches, sororities and law enforcement, Williams was able to build a safe refuge.