Friday, June 24, 2022, 4:00 PM-4:50 PM
My eight-year experience in two cults, has led me to strongly believe that many marginalised, neurominorities like myself (a racialised, queer womxn with Autism, ADHD and co-morbid mental health issues) can be more vulnerable to getting enmeshed into cults. This is due to key impairments in our conditions and the lived experience of trauma (such as racialised trauma or ‘minority stress’) which makes thought reform methods more impactful and concerningly more mentally damaging (and even fatal) long-term.
However, after consuming much cult-survivor/cult-recovery information, media and books, I realised that my perspective and my experience weren’t being adequately represented.In fact many cult awareness experts instead insisted on the ‘normality’, ‘intelligence’ and often ‘high social status’ of those recruited into cults. Biased I believe, by their efforts to destigmatise what is often a shameful topic for cult survivors and by gaps in their knowledge and own lived experiences.
In my presentation, I will unpack prevalent misconceptions about the ‘normality’ of people involved in cults. I will argue for the importance of platforming diverse stories and to having an understanding specifically of the compounded impact of being multiply oppressed and neurodivergent (with a focus on ADHD/ASD) on the cult experience, based on my own observations of being in two cults. I will also look at why we urgently need to adopt more inclusive and intersectional approaches in order to reach vulnerable communities and people like me before cults reach them.
Priscilla Eyles, Cult Awareness & Intersectional Neurodivergent Advocate, Writer, Speaker & JEDI Trainer, Freelance
Priscilla (she/they) is passionate about raising awareness of the many barriers Neurodivergent and Disabled people with multiply-marginalised and racialised identities face, alongside destigmatising the conversation around cultic abuse as an advocate, speaker and writer. As a bi-racialised, neurodivergent and queer person that has faced many social barriers themselves and survived eight years of being in two cults (Landmark Worldwide and One Taste), they also see the great importance of seeing yourself represented and included in cult survivor advocacy, research and outreach work. Priscilla Eyles is currently an Intersectional Project Coordinator for a Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation (DDPO), and is an ED&I trainer with Challenge Consultancy specialising in neurodivergence. As well as a trustee for their local Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation, Camden Disability Action. Priscilla previously worked as a Disability Job Coach for Disability Advice Services Lambeth (DASL), supporting young Neurodivergent people with complex needs. They also have a background in journalism with an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University and in 2019 completed a foundation certificate in Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling from The Minster Centre (they intend to complete their therapeutic education and eventually become a counselor specialising in the cult abuse of marginalised people). They have written for various platforms such as The i Paper and The Future is ND, and spoken at events for organisations such as Teach First, Ogilvy and the #BoycottSpectrum10k campaign. As well as founding and co-hosting the first ADHD podcast in the UK, ADHD &….They also released an EP last year on Bandcamp under the moniker Dandylion.