Podcast 018 (Part 1) – Clair Ashman – From Cult Survivor to Ted X Talker


Claire Ashman is a remarkable woman. She grew up in a sect, a break away from the Catholic Church, and at 18 married a man who would lead her into an even more sinister community. For almost a decade she lived by the whim of a man who called himself “Little Pebble”, the leader of a doomsday cult called The Order of St. Charbel. Forced to join the religious order, she took a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience and attended prayer sessions three times a day, It was the concern for the safety of her eight young children that eventually saw her bravely flee with her kids from the secretive cult , led by convicted rapist and pedophile William Kamm, on the NSW south coast. After escaping the cult, Claire had no idea about the outside world or how to survive on her own. But survive she did. Claire went on to forge an amazing life, is an author, a coach and has delivered no less that four Ted X talks.
Claire joins host, Sandy Lowres, to tell her story. This is Part 1 of Claire’s remarkable journey of survival. (*Note: We made a conscious decision to have Claire’s story told in two parts so that she could tell it fully). 

Claire Ashman is the author of Lessons of a Cult Survivor. 
You can buy her remarkable book here:

You can watch Claire Ashman’s Ted X Talks and find out more about Claire here:

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Sandy is a writer, creative and podcaster based in Melbourne’s west. She is the proud mother of her three adult children. She has always been passionate about women’s rights and celebrating the diversity of women having been raised by a proud disabled feminist mother herself. As the founder and Creative Director of Wb40 – Women Beyond Forty Magazine, she’s had a diverse and interesting career that has seen her wear various hats – business owner, manager, coordinator, writer, blogger and creative. She has never been afraid to challenge herself and has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. If “Wb40” reminds you of another thing entirely Sandy jokes that it’s the lubricant for your mind! In this world, representation matters, and right now in the publishing world, women over forty are not well represented. Sandy has been that woman fighting for her voice to be heard. As a mother, a single parent keeping her head above water, a business owner and a corporate worker. Although her background is diverse, the one constant is a desire to help others, to build a community, to give back and to bring people together. The journey of Wb40 – Women Beyond Forty, is not an accident. Sandy started an award-nominated blog back in 2013 which changed and evolved and has an established community of amazing women who are proud members of a tribe — industry leaders, creatives, disruptors, authors, survivors, inspirational keynote speakers, disability advocates and activists, teachers, nurses, doctors — many who are well known and respected in their fields. Women who, just like her, are seeking change in the world, and understand that the collective wisdom of women can make a positive difference in the world. When she reached out to women with her vision for Wb40 and her podcast The Good Girl Confessional, their collective enthusiasm, advice and encouragement was overwhelmingly positive and was honoured that they offered advice, their knowledge, time and expertise. They wanted to share their stories and write for Wb40. All of them without question wanted to be involved, believing in the vision but also understanding the need for such a platform. When Sandy couldn’t find the platform was looking for, with help from some friends, she created it here. Let’s start a revolution.