Did Keith Raniere abuse India Oxenberg? Read her statement
The NXIVM cult has manipulated and abused many of its members over the course of its existence. While the abuse of most members was relegated to financial, mental, and emotional abuse, some of its members experienced sexual abuse too. Specifically, the members invited to join the secret sect of DOS found themselves spiraling into sexual abasement.
Women would join DOS with the intention of taking their self-actualization to the next level. They had already experienced so many feelings of epiphany and euphoria during their time in the NXIVM self-help program. They probably didn’t see any reason diving deeper into the group should be any different.
Sure, maybe things had felt a bit off from time to time, but the majority of their experience had been positive so far. They trusted the powers that were to help them empower themselves in a new way. The brainwashing was deep. Whatever reservations they might have had, they were forced to give them away when manipulated into master-slave relationships.
The very association that was supposed to show them new heights of strength & fulfillment stripped them of their power and left them feeling torn & betrayed. India Oxenberg was one such woman. Although abused by the NXIVM scheme, she found the courage to stand up and face her abusers.
Facing Keith Ranere in court
India Oxenberg has been one of the most vocal victims of the NXIVM cult. Not only was she a huge part of the Starz docuseries Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, which premiered on October 18, she faced Raniere in court to ensure his conviction and give him a piece of her mind. At one point in the trial, Oxenberg explained the manipulation tactics Raniere would use to make his victims feel isolated.
“You tried to destroy my family by turning me against my own mother,” said Oxenberg to Raniere. She was fierce in making him account for what he had done to her. “You raped me,” she said blatantly at another point.
India Oxenberg wasn’t the only one to face Keith Raniere in court. Other victims spoke up as well and told their stories. Oxenberg expressed appreciation for the people in the room there to support her while she read her impact statement. She also acknowledged the other victims who were brave enough to stand up to their abuser.
She later recounted the experience to Vanity Fair: “If there’s anything that I saw yesterday, it was resilience. Every single story [from the survivors] was so heartbreakingly similar – but the ways in which they were read, the words, the feelings, were individual to them.”
India Oxenberg speaks about her time in NXIVM’s DOS cult
The horrible experience of finding yourself chest-deep in manipulation is a reality many women in the DOS NXIVM sect had to face. The abuse included having Raniere’s initials branded into their skin, being forced to hand over compromising collateral as a show of loyalty, and being forced into sexual acts.
During her impact statement, Oxenberg divulged other details about her experience and described the humiliation she was forced to endure during her time in the cult. Like Jeffrey Epstein, Raniere would starve his “slaves” in order to keep them looking as close to prepubescent as possible. Oxenberg explained how her lack of sleep and restricted diet kept her “looking like a 12-year-old”.
Oxenberg recalled, “Waiting naked like a piece of meat, a branded, brainwashed sex slave,” and “the horror of hearing his voice in the darkness”. She felt like a “human science experiment.” As traumatic as the memories are to Oxenberg she still chose to face them during her time on Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult. The docuseries picks apart how large-scale manipulation played a part in convincing women to join DOS.
While talking to Bustle, Oxenberg looked back on the memory of working on the docuseries saying, “We went on this year-long journey together, going back in time trying to figure out and deconstruct what actually happened in NXIVM and what NXIVM really was. It was important for me to be transparent and honest [about my experience], because I think it’s so easy for us to look the other way when things are uncomfortable.”
Keith Raniere is sentenced at last
Keith Raniere has, at last, had to answer for his crimes. Considering the amount of damage he and his henchpeople inflicted on so many people, it’s easy for no amount of punishment to seem like enough. The most retribution Keith Raniere will be able to experience on this Earth is a penalty handed to him by the justice system.
As much as we like to complain about what a failure the justice system can be at times, there are moments when we see it at its best. On October 27, 2020, Keith Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison after being convicted of racketeering, sex trafficking, possession of child pornography, and more.
India’s mother, Catherine Oxenberg said to People “Tragically, he abused and exploited my own beloved daughter and countless others. My faith in the justice system is renewed. Keith can no longer use his power, privilege, and access to unlimited wealth to silence and abuse his victims. He has been held accountable for his crimes.”