Girls Like Us
by Rachel Lloyd
From the book: At thirteen, Rachel Lloyd found herself caught up in a world of pain and abuse, struggling to survive as a child with no responsible adults to support her. Vulnerable yet tough, she eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation. It took time and incredible resilience, but eventually, with the help of a local church community, she broke free of her pimp and her past.
Three years later, Lloyd arrived in the United States to work with adult women in the sex industry and soon founded her own nonprofit—GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services—to meet the needs of other girls with her history. She also earned her GED and won full scholarships to college and a graduate program. Today Lloyd is executive director of GEMS in New York City and has turned it into one of the nation's most groundbreaking nonprofit organizations.
In Girls Like Us, Lloyd reveals the dark, secretive world of her past in stunning cinematic detail. And, with great humanity, she lovingly shares the stories of the girls whose lives she has helped—small victories that have healed her wounds and made her whole. Revelatory, authentic, and brave, Girls Like Us is an unforgettable memoir.
From me: Girls Like Us is a book that left me speechless.
Honestly, I've heard of sexual exploitation, but it's not really all that....noticeable in my little town and so I just didn't care. And it's a very sad thing for me to admit. When I started reading Girls Like Us, I wasn't expecting it to effect me, but the stories that Rachel shares really hit me in the gut. When I wasn't crying for these young girls I found myself asking God what my part should be in this. I don't know if I've found an answer yet, but I know that Rachel has made a difference in my life. I'm a white girl from a small-town. I grew up with parents who loved me and I've always had a safe place to land (or crash land as the case sometimes is). I'm not familiar with the world Rachel shared in her book, but she has opened my eyes to a world that I should care about. I don't think this book landed in my review pile on accident.
I don't know if I'll ever directly be involved with girls who are sexually exploited, but I know that I already have been viewing women/girls like this completely differently. It has changed my (often judgmental) opinion and reminded me that God looks at the heart and that He loves all of these women and wants to see them FREE. This is not a book that you will regret reading.
Thanks to Planned Televison Arts for offering me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!