India Oxenberg was the 10th victim to speak at Keith Raniere’s sentencing. The nine who preceded her were:
While Judge Garaufis, in keeping with his policy of using only first names for women who were judged victims of Raniere, used only India’s first name in court, I have chosen to use her first and last name.
Everyone knows who she is. She has her own docuseries and is writing a book. I chose to do the same with Sarah Edmondson. If someone goes public, they “outed” themselves.
On the other hand, I have adopted the policy of the court of not using the last names of women who have not written books, made documentaries, or otherwise gone public, such as Nicole, Sylvie, Jaye and Daniela.
In fact, I agreed before the trial to not name Jaye [which is actually not her real first name] when I was told she was wavering about testifying and the final decision of whether she would testify might hinge on whether I was going to name her on the Frank Report. I immediately agreed to not name her and use her chosen name Jaye in my report.
India, however, did not – or perhaps could not – choose to have such privacy. Her mother, Catherine, started the whole DOS upheaval when she told me that India was branded and I wrote about it. This caused India to be named right from the start. This also caused a reaction in the cult that led to many slaves escaping, including Jaye.
Though India told her story in court via her victim impact statement – as a victim of Raniere, she also tells her story in a four-part docuseries, Seduced, which was seen on Starz cable network and is now available on Flixtor: Here is the link to watch all four episodes of Seduced.
One of the most controversial things India said in her victim statement at the sentencing hearing, is that Raniere called and/or instructed Allison Mack to call Michele Hatchette the n-word. Hatchette denies she ever heard this and said she does not believe it is true. She also said she does not believe Raniere is a racist.
By India Oxenberg
Hello, Your Honor. I’m going to address you [referring to Raniere].
You stole seven years of my life from me that I will never get back. Yet, just last night, I bolted up from sleeping as I do most nights since leaving the cult, gripped with fear of your words, the unwanted touch. The horror of hearing his voice in the darkness, telling me to wait naked until he would appear, unwanted, uninvited, I was totally frozen, leaving my body so I didn’t have to be with you when you would rub your fingers across my brand, me not knowing it was your monogram and you would gaze and smile at it.
The unimaginable shame of waiting naked, like a piece of meat, a branded, brainwashed sex slave as I have been known in the media because of you.
Will I always feel like this?
I don’t know, but I do know I have wanted to end my life numerous nights since leaving, believing your words that I was weak, without substance, no sense of self.
I have been left with little to no self-worth for a while, wondering if anybody would even miss me or if I mattered at all. But I also know I will be a victim of Keith Raniere for the rest of my life, but I don’t need to live as one.
I am here because you exploited me. You have coerced and manipulated me, sexually, financially, physically and mentally. You tried to destroy my family by turning me against my own mother, telling me in your own words that did she was a psychopath, pulling me back into hell that was painted as sanctity. You are a sexual predator and you raped me, forcing me to engage in sexual acts with blackmail compounding over me.
When you touched me, I recoiled, blaming myself like I was defective and broken. I felt obligated to engage with you because of the blackmail and saying no to your advances meant consequences and punishment from Allison Mack.
Forced stays in Albany turned into permanent relocation and restriction of my travel and autonomy.
You are cruel and you are racist, coming up with nicknames for all of us women, referring to Michele as the N-word and laughing as you instructed Allison Mack to refer to her as the N-word as well, one of the most cruel acts I’ve ever witnessed.
Encouraging Allison to punish any of us who stood up against her, every action orchestrated by you. A woman who once desired a career in social justice now happily refers to herself as your slave.
The brand. You are a liar and a sadist, getting pleasure from watching our skin burn with your initials while we innocently accepted your lies of love, bonding, rising above pain for a greater good. No, you are just a deviant, trying to mask yourself as a lamb.
Just let’s call it what it is because everyone can see it now. I trusted you. You told me you had my best intentions, but you hurt me.
Here are some of the ways that I was affected during my time in NXIVM and in DOS.
- I was put on a restricted-calorie diet for over a year.
- I was permitted only limited sleep.
- A constant mix of praise and verbal abuse became my normal life.
- I was instructed to be 106 pounds and needed to lose 20 pounds without any consideration for my health or wellbeing.
- You played doctor and I was your human science experiment. This caused me to lose my period, threatening my ability to reproduce because I became so thin. I still suffer from medical issues because of this, all because you wanted me to look like I was twelve years old; a girl, hungry, weak and easy to manipulate. I had no idea of these perverted desires of yours and would often just put myself to bed because I was in extreme hunger pains.
- I was making little to no money the entire seven years I was in NXIVM. A time when many others would be building a career or getting an education,
- and I spent nearly a hundred thousand dollars on your curriculums and related expenses.
- I was branded with a cauterizing pen. This extremely painful procedure lasted 30 minutes and took months to heal. I may have to live the rest of my life with Keith’s initials seared into my flesh and I’m not sure if I will ever be able to put that fully behind me. I don’t need to look at the brand to remember the abuse. I just have to close my eyes to remember. I hear yours and Allison’s words.
- I was also instructed to write damaging documents against my own mother from Clare Bronfman and Nancy Salzman, who instructed me to sue my mother.
- I was also required to recruit other women into DOS and I was punished if I did not.
- I was also instructed to seduce Keith as a test to my loyalty. Supposedly, this would show me I was willing to push against my fears and experience what it feels like to be rejected. This is how they manipulated me into thinking it was for my own growth. This turned into dozens of sexual encounters with a man I was not attracted to. I would never have consented to this if I wasn’t being blackmailed or threatened with my collateral if I did not obey. I did not join ESP to be abused and enslaved.
- I was gaslit and coerced.
I still hear yours and Allison’s words:
“Everything I do for you is for your own good.”
“You’re a bad master.”
“You are weak.”
“You let people walk all over you,” when I wouldn’t punish the people I was forced to recruit.
“You are an entitled little Princess. You don’t know who you are, you have no sense of self, and if you don’t do this you will never grow.”
“You are good at being a slave, those skills come naturally to you.”
I experienced emotional humiliation from people who said they were my friends, and psychological punishment if I could not complete what was being demanded of me by Allison and Keith. I was also physically isolated and instructed to stay in Albany for months at a time. Although they told me I was free, I could not actually go home when I wanted because of all the consequences if I did so.
This caused great strain on me and my family and my friendships at home. I was estranged and being told that it was for my benefit to stay in Albany and return home.
After leaving this group, I’ve experienced both physical and mental damage including panic attacks, extreme anxiety, digestive issues, as well as physical pain in my body that amplifies with stress and suicidal thought.
Keith Raniere is without remorse.
I know that, despite everything he might say now, he is not capable of changing. I see this clearly now, as he instructs his loyalists to defend him from prison.
To me, it is only fitting that he gets a permanent sentence as his damage is permanent on me and so many others. It’s bad enough to be physically raped, which he did, but Keith is also the type of predator who targets and degrades the entire fabric of his victims’ lives. He takes everything that is good and destroys it. I would like to never have to live in fear of Keith Raniere again and know that no other man or woman will be able to be victimized by him or his cohorts.
Your Honor, that is why I am asking for life, a permanent sentence.