By Myra Peters
When I first read about it, I was shocked by the behavior of a women’s society “branding” members. How is it empowering to be a slave and enslave others?
A ‘secret society’ is empowering to those with lower IQs; sure, it makes them feel important when they actually feel unimportant. Were the women selected because they are confused?
The entry requirement is compromising photos. The obvious first sign that something was wrong. To submit sensitive information about yourself to be used as future blackmail against you? Why would anyone would join a “secret society” in which they are essentially told at the outset: “Your chances of wanting to leave and disclose your experiences are so high that we need some blackmail material from you as a precaution.”
It was sold as a type of scorched earth boot camp that tries to liberate failures (or people who see themselves as such) from the self-destructive patterns that keep them unsuccessful.
They were branded and not informed beforehand. Why would a woman, of her own free will, allow herself to be restrained on a table and branded (tortured) for 30 minutes?
In law, there is a concept called “informed consent.” Informed consent is achieved when the person is fully informed about a contract, verbal or written, for which they are being asked to give consent. Did these women give informed consent to being branded? Was informed consent absent in their oral or written contracts, text messages or otherwise?
The answer may be in what Sarah Edmondson said: she had been told she would get a small tattoo as part of the initiation. She was not prepared for what came next.
Sometimes I think of the women as victims. Other times I think they were fools. How does a supposedly smart woman wishing to empower herself fall under the spell of bearded guy who’s into bondage and torture?
Were these women children? Surrendering compromising materials? Did 30 minutes of “muffled screams and the smell of burning tissue” while being “branded” really seem like a good idea at the time?
Most times however I think Raniere as a predator, and his Nxivm cohorts and he are guilty of extortion/blackmail, regardless of whether the victims willingly gave them salacious materials.
Juries tend to dislike extortionists, especially those that leverage salacious material for sexual gratification. One’s agreement to a criminal enterprise is unenforceable.
By his nomenclature of NXIVM being “a self -help organization” Raniere meant to boost his ego and help himself to the available, easily- manipulated and submissive women.
Clearly this organization results in the sexual and economic exploitation of women.
It all makes sense when I realize this “secret women’s society” called DOS, this bad ass boot camp for women, is conceived, created, executed and led by a man.
I see it as horrifying cult, mainly meant to harm women, guided by one very dark and sinister, completely dishonest, satiating man who lives for the thrill of hurting women while fooling them into thinking they are being helped by him.