What will the NXIVM cult leader have to pay to his victims after branding them?
Is there a fair amount of money to restore the trauma of being in a sex cult? Definitely not, but justice should be done somehow and money settlements are a common way to do so, especially when powerful men are involved. A few months ago Prince Andrew paid a settlement to end his trial with Virginia Roberts Guiffre, but what about NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere?
Just give yourself a small refresher, NXIVM was an American sect convicted in 2019 of sex trafficking, slave labor, and racketeering. However, the cult was masked as a set of personal & professional development workshops to live through fears & anxieties. Cult’s co-founder Nancy Salzman was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, and Keith Raniere was sentenced to 120 years and a money debt to victims.
However, this is a pretty complex situation because further than thinking of money as a restorative justice act, it can be misunderstood as a crime remover. Also, it’s hard to give a number that could possibly restore the victim’s inner peace, we’re talking about the cult that used women’s skin as branding. All NXIVM victims count with a mark of the cult on their lower belly.
Skin branding and sex trafficking didn’t precisely happen in NEXIVM courses, in the end, these events were just a smokescreen. Inside NEXVIM, there was a subgroup named D.O.S, also known as The Vow, which was confirmed by privileged women.
In this group, women were obligated to have sex with Raniere, who was referred to as “Vanguard”, as well as accomplish certain esthetic parameters.
There was an initiation ceremony that feels a lot like Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. In this ceremony, women would stand naked in a room and follow Raniere’s instructions. Keith Raniere pretended the branding to feel sacrificial so all women were branded with hot metal. Members of The Vow were coerced to deliver naked pictures of them, which would serve as a way to control them socially.
Fortunately, all these atrocities eventually came to light in 2017 when several NXIVM former members asked the New York State authorities to start an investigation. As soon as this started, Keith Raniere left the U.S. and spent some months in Mexico, where he eventually got caught at Puerto Vallarta in 2018.
However, Keith Raniere was never alone in this, and charges were pressed against the other five women who collaborated with him. Incarcerated NXIVM members were Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, Smallville actress Allison Mack, and Claire Bronfman. Nevertheless, Raniere was the only one condemned to life in prison, after all, these women were his victims too.
Pay the victims
One of Raniere’s self-growth discourses was that victims didn’t exist essentially, affirming all victims decide to be so. “There are no ultimate victims; therefore, I will not choose to be a victim.” Raniere made people repeat this out loud several times in his courses but is presumably for him to mention this at The Vow. If these women weren’t allowed to recognize themselves as victims, he would never be a victimizer.
But Raniere was a victimizer and he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars because of that, but what about the victims? Some of them have created documentaries, others have stayed silent, but they’ll forever have NEXIVM branding even if they cover their skin. How can something like that be solved & restored? Is money enough?
A year ago it was court-determined for Raniere to give a total of $3.5 million in restitution to victims, but will money ever cover that trauma? There’s definitely no answer to that question.