India Oxenberg is detailing the horrifying trauma she experienced as part of her initiation into NXIVM’s secret master-slave sorority — also known as DOS.
“I had two women holding my hands and my feet so I wouldn’t convulse,” India told PEOPLE.
Then, the blonde beauty was held down and branded with the initials of NXIVM leader Keith Raniere, 60. “I remember the smell of flesh,” she recalled about that harrowing night in January 2016. “I remember crying but not with pain.”
“There was no choice to say no,” India said. She was recruited to join the selective group by former Smallville actress Allison Mack — who would become India’s “master” — and the two shared an apartment together. India noted that Mack “had a lot of power and control” over her.
“I was scared of her but she can’t hurt me anymore. I think in a lot of ways she saw herself as kind of a Joan of Arc character, willing to fall on a sword for Keith,” the 29-year-old added.
When the branding occurred, India and multiple other women were told that the lifelong scar was a “symbol of the elements” and not the twisted leader’s initials. India recalled that after five years of being “brainwashed” by the group that billed itself as a self-help organization, she lost all ability to think for herself.
“The circumstances pushed us to our limits, to the point where you would think you were making the choice to get branded,” she said.
Once a member of the alluring private group DOS, India says she was groomed to have sex with Raniere. “One of my first commands was to seduce Keith … I was told it was an assignment to make me feel less vulnerable,” she said.
Fortunately, India was finally able to free herself from NXIVM, Raniere and Mack with the help of her mother, Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, who never stopped fighting to get her daughter back.
Catherine told the public about her daughter in 2017 and alerted the authorities about the illegal activities going on inside the cult.
“I was scared to death but it didn’t matter if I was scared,” Catherine told PEOPLE. “I knew what I was up against. I knew nobody had dared to do what I was doing because this cult had financially ruined them. I had to save my daughter.”
Raniere and Mack were arrested in 2018 alongside other high-ranking members of NXIVM. Raniere was found guilty of sex trafficking, racketeering and possession of child pornography. He is still awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for October 27. Mack, 38, pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges. She told the judge at the time of her plea that she “was lost” during her days in the sex cult. She is also awaiting sentencing.
OK! previously reported that Clare Bronfman — who is the daughter of late billionaire and former Seagram’s liquor chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr. — was sentenced to 81 months in prison for fraud and forced labor as a leading member of NXIVM.
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