Helen speaks for cult victims
Sunshine Coast Daily
December 12, 2009
ABUSED but not defeated cult victim Helen Pomery has made it her life’s mission to shine a light on the underbelly of shady religious organisations in Australia.
The Maleny resident has written a letter to all senators in Canberra asking for an inquiry into religious groups linked to abuse.
It is not the first time Ms Pomery has written calling for a senate inquiry, but this time she was spurred on to put pen to paper after independent senator Nick Xenophon called for an investigation into the religious organisation Scientology.
Mr Xenophon used parliamentary privilege to table letters detailing claims of abuse, forced abortion and false imprisonment.
Ms Pomery said Scientology was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to cultist abuse in Australia.
“It is time we had a good hard look at what is happening in Australia,” she said. “There is quite a deal of substantial evidence of abuse within religious organisations.”
Ms Pomery’s story of abuse at the hands of the Brisbane Christian Fellowship is just one example.
In 2001, Ms Pomery was excommunicated from the church, severing her relationship with her son and daughter.
At the request of church elders, her husband of 30 years kicked her out of her house, leaving her destitute, when she disobeyed orders and called her estranged daughter to wish her a Merry Christmas.
That daughter has since been accepted back into the fold.
Ms Pomery has not been allowed to speak to her children or grandchildren for the past eight years.
She now heads the support network Cult Information and Family Support Queensland.
In her letter to the senators she wrote: “It is very clear that the fraud and abuse being committed by these abusive groups will not cease without action being taken against them.
“I firmly believe that this is not a question of respecting individual rights to ‘freedom of religion’, but rather the issue here pertains to addressing abusive, violent behaviour.”
Ms Pomery sent the letters last week.
She has yet to hear from any of the senators.
CIFS QLD will hold a national conference on treating victims of cults in Brisbane on March 12 and 13 next year.
The opening address will be given by ABC Radio National’s Rachel Kohn, who hosts the program The Spirit of Things.
Journalist and author Michael Bachelard, who wrote Behind the Exclusive Brethren, will speak about the history of cults in Australia.
To find out more about the conference next year call 0413 088 218.
(Click 'Conference' on the left button bar. Ed.-CIFS)
Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.