Cult leader wanted 'cadre of women soldiers', court hears

Aravindan Balakrishnan Image copyright PA
Image caption The court heard Aravindan Balakrishnan used sex as a "weapon for breaking down" one of his followers

The leader of a Maoist cult wanted a "cadre of women soldiers" trained to combat the "sugar coated bullets of bourgeois culture", a court has heard.

Aravindan Balakrishnan believed women were the "weakest link of bourgeois culture", a former follower said.

His father remarked on the number of women surrounding "Comrade Bala" while visiting his commune in the late 1970s.

The 75-year-old from Enfield denies charges including four counts of rape and seven of indecent assault.

'Sex was a weapon'

The 64-year-old woman, a former cult member at the Workers Institute commune in south London, told Southwark Crown Court previously that Balakrishnan made her write explicit "sex diaries", extracts from which he shared with the group to humiliate her.

Under cross-examination, she agreed they had been written as "love letters" to the leader, but said it was because of his psychological abuse.

"For him, sex was a weapon for breaking you down so he could rebuild you as this revolutionary cadre", she said.

The woman told the jury on Monday Balakrishnan started off by kissing her before moving on to sexual assault and then having sex with her.

She said she felt powerless to refuse because he had "dehumanised" and "psychologically stripped" her through a barrage of verbal abuse.

The trial continues.

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