After being raped by a Catholic camp leader, his hatred almost killed him – then God stepped in
ATLANTA, Georgia, February 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- Eleven-year-old YG Nyghtstorm was excited to be going to summer camp. He would be away from his abusive household where his dad’s occasional visits with his mom always seemed to end in nothing but yelling, swinging fists, crying, and destroyed furniture. The young boy would be away from his mom who had become more and more hostile and abusive towards him the more he had begun to look like his dad.
YG hoped that summer camp would help him forget his worries as he learned how to survive in the wilderness, how to build a fire, how to handle a canoe, and maybe even how to make friends with other people. But at camp, he found that he did not fit in. He was embarrassed by his lack of basic social skills. He found himself unable to trust anybody. He felt isolated from everyone else in the camp.
That was when one camp councillor noticed YG and encouraged him to open up and join in with the group activities.
One night around the camp fire, people started sharing stories about things that scared them. When it came to YG’s turn, he suddenly found the courage, thanks to the counselor, to let everything pour out that had been bottled up for his entire life.
“The thing that scared me the most at 11 years old back in 1985 was the fact that my mom and dad were always constantly at war. Dad was always gone, but whenever he did come home, he and mom would get to fighting. He would abuse her, and then he would leave,” YG told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview over the phone from his home in Atlanta.
YG remembers the camp counselor, who would have been around 30 years old, opening up to him after that camp fire and sharing a similar past.
“He took me under his wing. He told me he had also grown up without a dad. He shared a lot of the same story that I had. So I instantly gravitated toward him. His empathy for my situation allowed me to see him as a father-figure that I could trust,” he said.
Even though it was a non-religious camp, the counselor began telling YG about God and about the Catholic Church.
“He told me about how much God loves me and how God wants to help me get through these trials.”
The last day of camp had arrived. The busses were already lined up, packed, and ready to depart within the hour. It was at this moment of confusion and hubbub that the counselor decided to strike.
“He told me to come into a cabin, saying he had to give me something. And, of course, I said ‘Okay.’ That's when he took advantage of me and raped me,” YG related.
With the door locked, the trusted counselor who had become a friend and father-figure now turned into an enemy and monster. He violated the young boy, forcing him to do unspeakable things.
“I felt worthless as he used his strength to pin me down and had his way with me,” YG said.
The monster muttered scripture quotations as he violated the young boy, telling him that his actions were ordained by God. The monster’s words burned like red hot coals into YG’s memory.
“He said, ‘Don’t fight this. This is what God wants. God gave you to me like he gave me to a priest 20 years ago. If you ever tell anyone, God will send his angels to kill you and your mom. Your dad won’t save you and your life will be destroyed.’”
YG remembers later pulling up his pants and staggering out of the cabin. Waves of humiliation and pain washed over him as he stumbled through the woods towards the departing busses. He managed to find his seat in the bus and put his head down on his knees before breaking down and crying, his whole body shaking. A different counselor approached him and asked what was wrong. As YG raised his head to answer, he looked out the bus window and saw his tormentor standing there, glaring at him. He remembered the warning.
“I did not want God to kill me and my mom, so I stayed silent. The bus pulled off and the wicked man’s secret was safe,” he said.
Out of Control
YG’s life began to spiral completely out of control. He started having a sexual identity crisis.
“First I wondered if I really was a boy, because, if I was a boy, why did this man do this to me? Was I a girl? Was I gay? What was I?” he related.
He started feeling utter contempt for himself.
“I felt that God did not love me and that I was not worth anything, because if God had loved me, this evil would not have happened to me. If my father had loved me he would've saved me. If my mom had loved me, she would not be punishing me for the sins of my father, and just for the fact that I looked like the man.”
“I was surrounded by negativity, and confusion, and darkness, and I just started to hate myself,” he said.
As YG’s hate for himself increased, his hate for Christianity, especially for the Catholic Church, under which name unspeakable evil had been inflicted on him, increased even more. In his pain and anger on account of the horrible injustice that had been committed against him he felt tempted to burn down every Catholic Church he came across.
YG was now in his teenage years. His mom’s aggression towards him had reached a point where he realized it would be safer for him to be homeless on the streets of Atlanta than to live in her home and be subject to her violent rampages.
It was around this time that YG began to feel utterly cursed. He tried to commit suicide several times.
“I would walk into traffic hoping that someone would run me over. Nobody ran me over. I caused a traffic accident, but nobody ran me over. I tried to kill myself in several different ways, but somehow I kept surviving.”
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘See, I'm so messed up, I can't even kill myself right. That's how much God hates me,’” he said.
The wounds became so toxic that it seemed to YG that every relationship he was involved in became poisoned by his touch.
As the years passed, YG eventually left the streets, but the untreated wounds he had received as a young boy continued to fester and slowly ooze the poisons of hate and self-pity into his heart and soul. The wounds became so toxic that it seemed to YG that every relationship he was involved in became poisoned by his touch. He went on to experience two failed marriages, the tragic abortion of his twin sons as a form of revenge from a girlfriend, and the loss of his youngest daughter to social services.
A power stronger than hate
YG was now 34. He began to realize that something was wrong with his life, that something in him was causing him to lose everyone and everything he cared about.
“I was thinking there's something wrong because I'm always losing everything,” he said.
He continued to hate the Catholic Church for what the "wicked man" had done to him. Instead of burning down churches, he self-published a book in 2005 titled “Ghost in the Room” in which he told the story of an evil pope, who, along with the Catholic Church, was responsible for leading Satan’s army on earth as millions of people died.
“Let’s just say that I wanted the Catholic Church to fall and pay for the sins of all its members who had hurt children,” he said. “I was just consumed by my hate and was in a lot of pain and darkness. And when you are like that, the only thing you want to do is to lash out."
The wounds, the poison, the self loathing, the hate, all reached a tipping point in 2008 when YG lost his oldest son through a tragic accident.
“When I looked at the body of my son — and there's nothing more real to a parent than seeing your child take his last breath and die — that really started to wake me up.”
“I looked at my wife and my other children and I said, ‘I have to stop the darkness, because darkness has covered my life. This curse has been on me and I can no longer allow this negative power, this wicked man, to control my life. God, I need your help.’”
YG realized that he needed a bigger power in his life if he was to overcome the all consuming darkness that had surrounded him up until that point.
“So, I decided to allow Jesus Christ into my life completely at that time. I invited Christ into my life, because I realized that I had no control of anything around me, as long as I was walking in darkness. I saw that only he could help me take back the power in my life.”
YG also came to the realization that the more he hated the "wicked man," the more destructive power the wicked man wielded in his life. He saw how hate had became the volatile fuel that had powered the darkness and destruction in his life. His new found faith in Jesus Christ told him that there was only one effective way to get rid of hate: forgiveness.
He saw how hate had became the volatile fuel that had powered the darkness and destruction in his life.
“I realized that the moment I could forgive this man and let this go was the moment that I was going to be truly free,” he said.
But forgiving one’s enemy is much easier said than done. For YG, it took a visit to the doctor because of his high blood pressure to convince him that forgiveness was the only way forward.
“I was suffering from nightmares of the abuse. That moment was reliving itself in my mind, constantly. And it was controlling me. At one point I had been clinically diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. The memories were hurting me to the point where I couldn't focus on any job I was working. The constant stress made my blood pressure just ridiculously high.”
The doctor told YG that he must let go of whatever it was that was causing him stress.
“She said, ‘YG, whatever is causing this is going to kill you. If you want to die, just hold on to whatever is causing this stress. But, if you want to live, you’re going to have to let go of it,’” he remembers her saying.
YG started thinking what life would be like for his wife and six children if he allowed the evil of the "wicked man" to kill him.
“Then, he wins. He would have not only destroyed my childhood and my innocence, but he would have destroyed another whole generation of fatherless children, and possibly the next generation after that, all because of what I'm holding onto.”
“In order to save my life and to save my children and my grandchildren from receiving this pain and this curse, I realized that I had to break the chain. But, in order to break the chain, I had to forgive.”
‘Forgive…from your heart’ - Matt. 18:35
Close to this time YG had accidentally stumbled across a group of Catholic men who had invited him to join their prayer group. He had been out one day driving his convertible with the top down when two children ran out on the road in an aggressive campaign to sell lemonade. He was so impressed by the kids’ manners that he asked if he could meet their parents. The dad and YG talked over beer about raising children with ethics, accountability, and faith. YG loved every minute of it. Then the dad asked YG if he would like to join their Catholic prayer group.
“I must admit, I was apprehensive because I still secretly carried a grudge against all things Catholic because of the ‘wicked man.’ But they welcomed me and embraced me after I told them my story. They were angry at the ‘wicked man,’ and some even vowed to help me hunt him down for justice. They did not care that he was a fellow Catholic. They wanted to do all that was within their power to finally bring me peace,” he said.
With his new faith in Jesus, his doctor’s warning about high blood pressure still ringing in his ears, and with the strong support of his new Catholic friends, YG knew the time had finally come to forgive his enemy of nearly 30 years and hand his hate and self-loathing over to God.
In his heart he forgave the camp counselor of the brutal rape when he was a child. He gave everything else over to God.
“I forgave and gave it to God. I tried it, and I realized it worked. It really did work. And honestly, just to be fully transparent, I found peace. And things just started to get better. I said I would no longer be a victim.”
“After I forgave the ‘wicked man’ there was this huge weight that I felt lifted off of me. At first I thought that this was probably just emotional, because, I'm from the Protestant church, and in the Protestant church we like to use emotionalism to make people feel good for right now. So, I thought this was probably just some emotional thing, and that I would probably be hurting again next week. But I realized that what had happened was far more than an emotional change. It was a deeply spiritual change,” he said.
YG saw his wife and children respond positively to the change. They galvanized around him. He suddenly found himself receiving the support and love from others that he had so desperately needed since when he was a child. He began to experience that he was valued by God and was worthy in his sight.
“So, this wasn’t about emotions. It was about real hard-core transformation in my life that became spiritual and tangible. I could see it. I could feel it. I could see it reflected in my wife, my children, and in the people who were around me. My life started to open up. Opportunities to touch other people’s lives with my story we're opening up. The change was real.”
YG said he now has no regrets in choosing to forgive. He just wishes he had done it sooner.
“I now want to show the world the power of forgiveness and how one is able to move forward once you get this newfound power through Christ.”
YG even found the courage to reach out to his mother and begin the road towards healing and forgiveness.
“In full transparency, we are taking it one day at a time. The love is still there between mother and son, but we have a lot of issues to work out. The fact is that we are both trying and doing our best,” he said.
To anyone who finds themselves locked in unforgiveness towards someone who has grievously hurt them — whether it be one spouse unable to forgive the other, a woman unable to forgive her rapist, a grown child unable to forgive a parent who hurt them — YG has nothing but sympathy followed with a word of advice:
“I was just like you. I hated this person’s guts, too. I couldn't stand this person, too. But the only thing it ever did to me was lock me away in a pit of darkness where it almost killed me.”
“I ask you, is this unforgiveness worth your life, your happiness, and your future? If so, then go ahead, hold on to it, and you will suffer and maybe die. But if it's not worth your life, happiness, and future, then you have to let it go. You have to forgive. And with God, you can do it.”
“Holding on to pain does nothing but kill you from within and destroy your life. Seek help for your sorrow and know that God will put people in your life to make you whole. I am no longer cursed by the ‘wicked man.’ I stepped out of the darkness of despair through forgiveness, and pray that you do the same.”
Editor’s note: YG and his wife Toby will enter the Catholic Church this Easter. YG’s ministry, including radio show and videos, can be found at www.nyghtstorm.com.