India Oxenberg and her mom Catherine join The Doctors to speak out on the horrors of sex cult Nxivm, including details on leader Keith Raniere, her abusive relationship with actress Allison Mack, being branded with Raniere’s initials, and how she finally managed to escape.
India became involved in the group, which claimed to promote self-empowerment but was actually brain-washing, starving, and branding its members while using them as sex slaves. Catherine went public with the group's atrocities to free her daughter, which is chronicled in an upcoming Starz documentary series "Seduced: Inside The NXIVM Cult". The daughter and mom are speaking out in hopes of helping others avoid experiencing a similar nightmare and they tell Dr. Ian Smith they missed the initial red flags of the group saying professionals and famous actors were members.
India and Catherine on Nxivm's Corruption: India tells The Doctors the multi-level marketing company claimed she was "investing in a practical MBA" but Catherine says it was actually a "pyramid scheme" where members rarely made money were told they need to volunteer their time working and that only the top-tier members and leaders profited.
India on Nxivm Consuming Her Life and Her "Abusive" Relationship with Allison Mack: "I didn't realize I was being systematically groomed," she says, explaining she joined the group when she was only 19. Looking back at the beginning, India says, "Nothing struck me as dangerous," saying she had friends in the group and she thought she was learning and growing. But things began to change, "It got more and more aggressive and more devious the longer I was in," she says of ascending the ranks of Nxivm. Once part of Nxivm's DOS group, India says she was required to call actress Allison Mack "master" and she was put on a 500 calorie diet to drop her weight to just 106 pounds. India says she also endured sleep deprivation, was asked to constantly work, and was required to be obedient to commands from Allison. "It was no different than an abusive relationship," she says, telling The Doctors she is still healing from the trauma.
India on Being Branded by Nxivm: She tells The Doctors the branding was "an out of body experience" and involved having a cauterizing pen scar her body. She was first told the brand was a symbol of the elements, but later learned it was actually the group leader's initials. She reveals the smell of her burning flesh as she was branded filled the entire home where it took place.
On Being Forced to Have Sex with Nxivm's Leader Raniere: India explains her activities in the group eventually became sexual, first starting with taking photos of her body that were shown to Raniere, and then she says she (and other women) was forced to have sex with him repeatedly. "This was all done by force and fear, and that's what makes it even worse," India tells Dr. Ian.
How India Was Able to Finally Free Herself from Nxivm: Catherine says her first attempt at saving her daughter from the cult failed and India only went deeper into the cult and began recruiting for the group. Catherine decided to go public speaking with the media to expose Nxivm to save her daughter. She says she chronicled Nxivm's alleged crimes including money laundering, kidnapping, and trafficking. India says she never had an "aha moment" about Nxivm, but gradually as she learned more and more, she was able to see what was happening to her and others. She then became a cooperating witness with the FBI to free herself and help take down the group.
What India Would Say to Nxivm's Leader Raniere Now: "I don't know what you say to somebody like that. He's never going to change. He's incapable of changing... he's a damaged human being, he's a dangerous human being and he deserves to be where he is for the protection of other people," India says of Raniere, who was found guilty on seven charges, including two counts of sex trafficking, racketeering, and forced labor conspiracy. She adds, "I would say that to his face, but I don't think it would make a difference... he believes he's innocent to this day."
Find out more about the warning signs you might be involved in a cult and how to help someone who is trapped and see more of India and Catherine's gripping and harrowing story of survival in the four-part STARZ Original docuseries “Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult” will premiere on Sunday, October 18 at 9 PM ET/PT on STARZ in the U.S. and Canada.