The day was sunny and warm when my friends and I decided that we'd go down to the local "pond" for a swim. At fifteen, it was one of the few places in the small town I grew up in that we could 'hang out'.
There were about five of us girls and we'd brought spare T-shirts and shorts to change into after our dip.
It was fun. We went in the water a bit and sat on the sandy ground or on rocks and talked. A few of us smoked cigarettes, and this was one place where we knew we wouldn't get caught.
It began getting late and I knew that I had about a two mile bike ride home. I'd borrowed my sister's ten speed and wanted to get back. The group dispersed, each heading into their respective places in the woods to get changed into their dry clothing.
I found a spot that was very secluded. Being the modest type, I kept my bra on under my wet clothes and it would remain on under my dry ones. I checked to see that I was not in anyone's view before I started to change.
As I began lifting my wet shirt over my head, I felt someone grab me. Before I knew what was happening, I began to scream. About five of the boys from school must have been spying on us and they picked me to gang up on. I felt them grabbing at my shirt and I struggled with all my might to keep them from tearing it away from my body. I was terrified and couldn't stand the thought of them seeing me in just my bra. I screamed and screamed but none of my friends seemed to be anywhere. At least I couldn't see them.
My efforts proved unsuccessful at keeping my T-shirt on. I was no match against the five young, strong boys who were laughing as I kept on screaming; their hands groping me.
With my hands tightly covering my chest, I remember huddling face down on the ground. I was so humiliated and was determined not to let these boys see me. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied one of my girlfriends. I begged her to help me, but there was little she could do other than yell at them to stop. There was no way she could take the five of them.
I remember their laughs. They thought it was just a big joke. Little did they know the terror they had sparked within me. I feared they'd take the rest of my clothes off and then what? Would these boys I knew from school who I thought were decent people rape me?
They continued to grab at me and pull at my shorts. That's when my screams grew even louder.
Suddenly, it stopped. I felt them being thrown away from me until finally, I was free. Dirty and sitting on the ground, I looked at the tall figure through tear filled eyes. I knew his name, but didn't know him personally. He lived near the pond and it was rumored that he had done some crazy things and was a real loner. He was a bit older than us and the kids used to talk about him like he was the town freak.
The person I was looking at was no freak. He was a hero and appeared from out of the woods, saving me from my plight.
I thanked him and he silently slipped back through the woods out of sight. I never saw him again.
Still shaking, I gathered my clothes and got dressed. I walked out to the pond and my girlfriends were there, along with the five boys.
Trying to hold back my tears, I told them that if anyone found out about this at school I would go to the police. The boys insisted it was just a joke, but I told them it was no joke to me. Through tears of embarrassment and shame I looked directly into the eyes of each and every one of them. I think they knew I was serious.
I got my sister's bicycle and walked it home, crying all the way.
Not a word was ever mentioned in school.
Looking back, I realize how lucky I was. I believe with all my heart that God was watching out for me and sent this person, who most of the kids in town thought was crazy, to save me. Although very thankful back then, at the age of fifteen I didn't have the insight that I do today. I believed in God, but didn't make the connection.
God gave me a miracle.
I wish I could meet the young man who rescued me from those boys today and thank him. I doubt he knows the impact his actions had on me. Who knows what would have happened had he not come? Would I have been another statistic?
Whatever vicious rumors circulated around town about him were not true, and he proved himself to be far more decent than those I thought were my friends.
"Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am." (Isaiah 58:9)