In today’s interconnected world, leaving a cult presents unique challenges but also offers digital avenues for liberation. Here’s a detailed guide on establishing secure contact with the outside world.
The Complexities of Breaking Free from a Cult
Cults, social entities centered around an intense devotion to a person or ideology, often feature a strict hierarchy and eccentric beliefs. They can span various types, including religious, polygamist, racist, political, doomsday, and terrorist groups.
Members of cults, akin to domestic violence victims, are caught in a web of manipulation and control, sometimes with dangerous consequences. Cult environments often obscure the reality of the abuse, leaving members unaware of their predicament.
Historically, in the 1960s to 1980s, families resorted to hiring professionals to forcibly extract members, followed by intense debriefing. This approach, now seen as harmful and illegal, often inflicted psychological trauma.
In our current digital era, different strategies are needed.
Modern Digital Strategies for Departure
Now, the focus shifts to persuading cult members to engage in exit counseling, a modern adaptation of the debriefing process, conducted in a non-coercive environment.
The crucial step in exiting is establishing safe and secure communication channels.
For those inside a cult or assisting someone in leaving, anonymity in online interactions is crucial.
This article addresses cult members with internet access. For those in isolated cults with limited digital connectivity, seek help from local authorities or specialists.
If You’re Inside a Cult
Remember, there’s always a way out, and things will improve. Upon deciding to leave, prioritize securing all external communications.
Begin by ensuring your instant messaging is private. Many chat apps have privacy gaps. Consider secure apps like Wickr, offering self-destructing messages and content shredding without needing a phone number or email. On your smartphone, conceal the app and disable notifications.
Switch to a more secure email provider like ProtonMail for self-destructive emails and encrypted communication with any email service.
For browsing, use Firefox or Tor. Firefox offers robust security and privacy, ideal for confidential browsing, planning, and research. Tor provides similar privacy with enhanced anonymity. Check our guide on setting up and using Tor.
Concerned about device seizure? Use hidden volumes on your drives, creating encrypted spaces within other encrypted areas, rendering the presence of hidden data undetectable. For added security, consider a hidden operating system like TAILS, installable or runnable via USB.
If Your Friend or Family Member is in a Cult
Approach with caution and empathy.
Avoid forcing them to leave or speaking negatively about the cult or its leader, as it may isolate them further. Let them know you’re available to talk anytime.
If they’re contemplating leaving, assist with planning and assure them of their safety. Sharing success stories from former cult members can be encouraging.
If the cult learns of your contact, be vigilant against potential online harassment or doxing. Remember, they will strive to retain their member.
Above all, ensure a secure line of communication.
Cult Support and Information Resources
Vpn service private internet access
Start by securing your communication with the outside world, using private messaging apps, secure email providers, and anonymous browsers.
Approach them with understanding, avoid confrontational tactics, and provide a safe, secure communication channel.
Consider Wickr for messaging, ProtonMail for email, and browsers like Firefox or Tor for internet access.
Leaving a cult can be challenging but with careful planning, secure communication, and support, it is possible to safely transition out.