I was a junior high school student in Queens, NY…picture day, all ready to go and be with my graduating class. I was also a hallway monitor during lunch hours for extra volunteer credit.
One day, I had to use the restroom, so my classmate stayed at my station and I opted to use the ones down the hallway, than near/in the lunchroom area. I went in, nobody was around, not even in the hallways, these stalls, all the locks were broken, so you had to use a ball of paper to hold the door shut. As I got myself seated, suddenly the stall door popped opened.
There, in front of me was a thin boy, maybe the same age as me but I never seen him before. I knew at that very moment, shit got real and it got real quick. He closed the stall door behind him as I jumped up to quickly dress myself, and I started to scream. He then took off, (thinking he left) but instead he ran to lock the main bathroom door. He came back and I am almost done dressing and shaking terribly. He then started to grab me, touch me forcibly and I again screamed as loud as I could and tried to get out of the stall. Have you ever screamed so loud in fear/terror, that you’re not sure if you have any volume in your voice? That was me. That is what I was fearing. As he went to rip down my pants, I kicked him as hard as I could and started to run towards the main door & that is when I realized it was locked.
He ran up behind me, started pulling down my pants as I was CLINGING onto the bathroom door & trying to spin the lock to unlock the door. I’m not sure if I heard anyone on the other side, but as I was then hanging off this door, by the grace of god, I was able to unlock this door and suddenly, it opened. My Social Studies teacher, Mr. Baus who I will treasure to the day I die, was standing there…he walked over me as I had fallen to the floor & grabbed the boy with both hands. I don’t think the boys feet hit the floor, that is how angry and upset Mr. Baus was. He couldn’t believe what he had seen, he couldn’t believe he was able to be there to save me? The timing was everything.
We found out after, that the school knew he had a record for attempted rapes in the past, that he was an aggressive boy in a special program in another wing of the school. My mother almost went over the counter to choke the Principal. For 2 years after, I slept with a human sized stuff animal next to me, feeling as if it protected me, to help me get through my nightmares. A situation that my father, to this day is unaware, for he would have been in jail himself.
When I look back at my yearbooks…that picture day brings back nightmares. Something I will never forget.
To this very day, I stand by bathroom doors while with my children in public places. They don’t “get it”, but I do.
Mr. Baus, thank you, thank you for saving me that day & thank you for being supportive of me thereafter.