In Reply to: Re: questions for male ex members posted by excog on November 09, 2005 at 01:24:01:
OK, I'll tackle this one... I can only tell you as honestly as I can remember. To put it in perspective, I think I need to briefly outline my time in the COG/TF.
I joined early 1976 in Tasmania with my then girlfiend. We were almost immediately shipped off to Melbourne and separated to different colonies. At that time, I do not recall any sharing in the pre-FF days. That came much later. The FF-ing latters came out in late '76, but it was a good year or so before anyone (in Australia at least as far as I recall) put any of it into practice. By this time I was married ('77/'78). I recall being somewhat shocked and surprised by to content of those and subsequent letter, but since it wasn't 'in our faces' (yet) I guess the real import of the doctrines hadn't sunk in. My wife and I had been out of the way a bit (Townsville, and Tasmania), but when we relocted to Adelaide we came up against the new policy pretty hard.
There was only one occasion that I recall that a sister did not want to have sex. I respected her choice without complaint on my part. (Although we still slept together, there was no sex). I would never have wished to force anyone. On all other occasions (and at that time it wasn't all that often - in the whole year 1978 I can recall only 3 or 4 occasions) I was not aware of any reluctance to share. Thats not to say there wasn't any - just that it was never shown or communicated, or I was just so indoctrinated that I didn't notice subtle signs.
For me the hardest thing about this whole doctrine was that, despite the public exhortations from leadership, I *was* jealous and felt very uncomfortable about sharing. In hind sight, I am *very* ashamed of some things that happened.
I hated it when my wife shared, but ironically (and some may see this as a double standard on my part, I realily admit to that) I felt justified when I shared. That too I am ashamed of now.
Because of this discomfort, we eventaully withdrew from TF generally back to Tasmania ('79) and by 1980 had stopped 'believing', tithing and all regular with TF.
None the less, I feel the whole experience had taken its toll on our marriage, and we eventaully split.
So I guess we escaped the worst of it (by time and to a certain extent by choice).
To answer some of your specific questions, I now recognise that that 'sharing' was a form of rape. For this I am truely sorry. It was degrading to all involved.
If I could talk to the sisters concerned now, I certainly would be very apologetic, not because of force (in my case I know there was none), but for allowing myself and them to be put in the situation.
Was it duress? Probably. Not by any direct action of mine, but certainly by the indoctrination and the forced sharing supervion by leadership. In a way, I too was under 'duress'. (thats not intended to downplay or belittle any experiences others may have had, just an observation) But, I guess I had enough free will of my own to back off when at least one party didn't want to party (so to speak).
And, yes, I am uncomfortable remembering it. Afterall, I joined the cult and participated in these things that I would not have otherwise done.