Ashleigh Freckleton has opened up about her time in a cult in Romania (Picture: Channel 10)
The Bachelor Australia star Ashleigh Freckleton has spoken out about escaping a cult three years ago.
The reality star, 25, who was eliminated in episode six of the 2021 series, was living in London in 2018 and was considering relocating to India to study yoga.
She met a ‘charismatic’ friend while in the UK capital who recommended a yoga school closer to home in Europe.
Ashleigh told Mamamia: ‘Eventually, he said, “Look, rather than going to India, come to Romania and live for a month amongst all the yogis. It’s one of the only true schools that teaches real yoga with a real guide”.’
Within a few months she had jetted off to Romania and she says on arrival she was forced to confess she would not reveal to anyone what happened within the programme, before undressing and pledging her devotion to the leader known as Him.
The television personality went on to explain that although her instinct was telling her she was doing the wrong thing, she could not pull herself away from the group as she felt she had to better herself.
Ashleigh appeared on the 2021 series of The Bachelor Australia (Picture: Channel 10)
She said: ‘Even though my body’s telling me this is wrong, I’m shaming myself thinking, “It’s your ego. You need to spiritually evolve. You’ve got to push through, keep going”.’
Over a period of months, Ashleigh said she underwent spirituality training and was subjected to Freemasonry propaganda, conspiracy theories, and anti-vaccine dogma.
She said the group was expected to perform sexual acts on each other and watch pornography, and during a trip to Paris she was expected to engage in sexual activity with the group leader.
Ashleigh added: ‘They promised the whole world at your feet, if you go through with the initiation. And they say that if a woman gets the opportunity and she says no, then she is stubborn, stupid, superficial.’
She explained she felt she was losing touch with reality and that the leader was ‘grabbing my brain and like pulling it out from underneath me’.
The Australian star explained she tried to keep herself grounded by writing letters to herself and penning entries in a diary.
When she refused to participate in the final ritual, she spent days negotiating her exit from the programme.
Ashleigh returned to Australia but said it took months to understand what happened during her time in Romania.
She was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and says she’s grateful for having the support of her family, adding that she wants to raise awareness as people who don’t have a close network around them never leave similar groups.
Credit: Original article published here.