• Ashleigh Freckleton said a friend urged her to enroll in a yoga school in Romania in 2018
  • The "Bachelor Australia" star alleged she was ordered to undress and confess her devotion to the program leader
  • She also claimed to have been ordered to engage in a sexual act with the leader as a final "ritual"

Ashleigh Freckleton said she escaped a cult three years before becoming a contestant on the current season of Australia's "The Bachelor."

In an interview with Australian news outlet Mamamia, Freckleton revealed she considered relocating to India to study yoga in 2018, when she had just turned 25 and was living in London. It was during that time when a friend, who she described as "charismatic," encouraged her to join a European-based yoga school.

"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 teach real yoga with a real guide," the 28-year old speech pathologist told the outlet.

Freckleton took the friend's advice and headed to Romania a few months later. However, when she arrived at the "school," she claimed that she was forced to take a vow to never speak of what happened in the program. She further alleged that she was ordered to undress and confess her devotion to the leader, whom they referred to as "Him."

Freckleton admitted that she had already felt at that moment that the situation was wrong but explained that she couldn't get herself to leave.

"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,'" she added.

According to the reality star, she was allegedly subjected to lessons about Freemasonry propaganda, conspiracy theories, and anti-vaccine rhetoric for the next few months, along with spirituality training. Freckleton further claimed that participants were expected to perform sexual acts with each other and watch pornography.

When she was about to complete the program, she was flown to Paris, where she was allegedly told to engage in a sexual act with the program leader, and she refused.

"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 told Mamamia.

Freckleton continued, "I felt like I was losing touch with reality. It felt like [the leader's] claws were grabbing my brain and like pulling it out from underneath me. I had to write letters to myself in my diary and tell myself to stay lucid, because I was so afraid."

Freckleton revealed that she spent days negotiating her way out of the "school" after refusing to participate in the final "ritual." She also said she was unable to come to terms with her experience until months after she'd returned home to Australia. She has since been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Freckleton said she's managed to talk about her experience with her family but she has chosen to publicly speak about it now to raise awareness about cult groups. The reality star explained that often the people who join cults "have very positive and good intentions" but are "exploited."

After the interview was published, Freckleton expressed her gratitude to those who sent her messages of love and support after hearing her story.

"Your kindness doesn't go unnoticed," she wrote on Instagram Tuesday.

"We can’t erase the past or get rid of our scars, but we can find a way to make them meaningful," Freckleton continued. "Sharing my truth and raising awareness brings meaning and purpose to the pain of my experience, because where we have suffered the most is where we have the opportunity to contribute the greatest."

Bachelor Australia
GEELONG, VICTORIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Patrick Dangerfield as Osher Gunsberg from the Bachelor during the Geelong Cats AFL post-season celebrations at the Lord of Isles Hotel on September 28, 2016 in Geelong, Australia. Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images