In an interview for ABC's Good Morning America, NXIVM survivor India Oxenberg opened up about her years in the cult, and the abuse she and others endured while in it.
India sat down with her mother, Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg, on October 13 for an interview, the first she has given since her escape. The clip comes ahead of the premiere for the Starz docuseries, Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, in which she revisited the house where she and others in the cult were branded. The Inquisitr previously reported on an HBO special involving the group, in which Catherine spoke about her daughter's involvement.
The 29-year-old explained that she thought she was learning self-help methods, but in reality "what [she] was learning was the opposite, it was inhumane," she said.
Catherine detailed her knowledge of the organization in her book, Captive: A Mother's Crusade to Save Her Daughter From the Terrifying Cult NXIVM. The cult was promoted as a self-improvement program, the likes of which attracted millionaires and Hollywood creatives. Seagram heiresses Claire Bronfman and Sara Bronfman, Smallville actresses Kristin Kreuk and Allison Mack, and Battlestar Galactica actress Nicki Clyne were just some of the people who were former or current members when the cult's true nature was revealed to the public in 2018. Allegations saw top members -- including leader Keith Raniere -- face charges of racketeering, sexual abuse and forced labor.
Catherine had taken her daughter to her first NXIVM meeting, at the time billed as ESP: Executive Success Programs. While Catherine eventually left the program, India remained for nearly seven years. Mack eventually invited her into a women's secret society within the cult. In the female group -- named Dominus Obsequious Sororium, Latin for master over slave woman -- they were all allegedly groomed and brainwashed, although she had failed to see it that way then. Victims were allegedly told when to sleep and eat, and were asked for what they referred to as collateral: blackmail in the form of photos and personal information. According to former members of the DOS society, the women controlled each other, but ultimately the society was controlled by a man.
India explained she was too naïve to understand that she was being controlled.
"When you're unaware, it's so easy to be led astray, especially by people who are masters at manipulation, and these people were that. Especially Keith Raniere, he's a master at manipulation. If there's one thing he's intelligent at, it's that, and he's a predator."
Their leader allegedly manipulated members of DOS, including India, to sleep with him as part of their enlightenment.
"I had given collateral," she stated. "Which automatically removes my choice. So I did not have the option to say no."
During her time there, India was branded with an iron rod shaped into the coded form of the leader's initials. Members had been told it was a symbol for the elements before being held down and branded. At the time, she believed she was doing something empowering with her dearest friends.
India left NXIVM in 2018, following the capture and arrest of the leaders. She has been working with a deprogrammer to recover from her traumatic experiences. Raniere faces trial later this month. Mack was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, and racketeering acts of state law, extortion, and forced labor. She is awaiting sentencing.
Watch the full interview with the mother and daughter below.