Testimony: Woman 1

This personal testimony was received on March 5th 2015:

The letter you posted from the men’s perspective made me want to write in. I understand that there are people in the community who still haven’t heard a first-hand account from one of the women. Well, I’m one of the women, and I would like to share my experience with those that want to hear it. What I’m listing here is all fact.

* I did NOT approach Swamiji for a sexual relationship. That would never even have occurred to me. In fact, when he first approached me, I was outraged and horrified.

*He explained to me that what was happening was “a shakti thing” and was simply the natural unfoldment of our guru disciple relationship.

* I loved and trusted him, so even though I wasn’t sure about it, there were times when I went along with it.

* I would often talk to him about feeling that it was wrong for me to cheat on my partner, to which he would reply with things like “oh baby, this lies outside the boundaries of the normal world. You can’t look at it with worldly eyes. You’re exploring the shakti with your guru and it’s NOT cheating.”.

* He repeatedly said that it was a quick path to healing and enlightenment and that I would only get the real benefits if I let it go further sexually.

* If I was meant to be the stand in for “the goddess” then I did not feel worshipped. It was all about what he wanted.

* I was often reminded that a good disciple obeys the commands of the guru.

* When I expressed a desire to end the sexual nature of our relationship he kept pressuring me for it to continue.

* I was not initiated into Tantra in any way and as far as I could tell there were no rituals involved.

* I was told not to talk about it to anyone, ever.

* I am now going to a counsellor who specialises in sexual abuse and after hearing what happened and how, she said it was classic predatory behaviour and that it constitutes emotional as well as sexual abuse.

During the time that this was going on (it was years), I held on to the illusion that despite what was happening he still wanted what was best for me and had divine love for me. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the fact that that wasn’t the reality.

I have now told a few close friends and they have been amazing and truly supportive. I’m also getting counselling from CASA and that has been really helpful.

For any of the women who were involved who have not admitted it to anyone yet – and I’m sure there are a lot – I want to tell you not to listen to the feeling that’s keeping you silent. I thought I was never going to tell anybody about my experience. Partly because it was drummed into me, but also because I was ashamed and embarrassed and I thought that anyone I told would think I was disgusting and wouldn’t understand. That hasn’t been my experience. In fact, it’s been the opposite. Admitting it and speaking about it has been transformative and incredibly healing. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was trapped under a heavy weight that only started to lift once I spoke about it.

I would urge you to do it, because I truly think it changed my life and I feel clearer and stronger than I have in years.