Shivani: Don’t Condemn, Say ‘Welcome Back’ Damon Brink

Damon Brink

Before getting to an insightful, warm hearted piece on Damon Brink by Shivani, I want to share a communication I received from Sally Brink yesterday. She is the wife of Damon Brink.

She wrote, “I wanted to clarify something on a post today; Nancy never told me not to take the GoFundMe money. I am not sure who told you that, but it isn’t true. Maybe she said that to someone? I don’t know. I never heard that she said that. Maybe someone else told you that they heard Nancy say it?  Just wanted to let you know that because Nancy did a lot of things, but she never said that to me and I never told anyone that she did. It just isn’t true.”
Actually another source told me that, with some additional information about Nancy’s view of Sally having cancer.

In her sentencing statement at Clare Bronfman’s hearing, Sally said there were some who turned their backs on her after she got cancer.She said, “[H]ere I am involved in this [Nxivm] community that I really believed in and now some of the higher ranks were telling people not to help me [when she had cancer]. This community, a lot of the higher ranks, they turned their back on me.  I was shunned for being sick.  The deep emotional pain that you and many others were not my friend and did not love or care about me still resonates with me today.”

Sally Brink

This is extremely interesting because here is a marriage that has had some challenges.  Sally was first into Nxivm and her husband came in too and seems to have became more enthused than she was. They moved from Vermont to Albany to join the Nxivm community.

When, years later, Sally and Damon left, it was Sally who was disenchanted. Later, she turned against Raniere, providing evidence that helped convict him.

Keep in mind that Sally was doing this before the New York Times story came out and when only Frank Report was publishing anything on Nxivm. And Raniere and Bronfman were not feeling much danger.

Meantime, Mark Vicente, Catherine Oxenberg, myself and others were trying to persuade law enforcement to look at potential crimes.  The original dossier that I wrote became a blueprint of Nxivm-related criminal charges and included substantial information provided by Sally.

[One more word, that is slightly off-topic.  Mark Vicente was zealous about protecting every one who provided information.  Sometimes it was so extreme that there was danger that very damaging information would be lost in his desire to protect anonymity.  The point of tension was that sometimes in order for something to have credibility it needed a verifiable source. In the end, however, it worked out pretty well.]

After the convictions, Sally made victim impact statements that were used in support of the prosecution’s sentencing recommendations for both Clare Bronfman and Keith Raniere.

Meantime, Damon remained loyal to Nxivm, to the organization he helped to found, the Society of Protectors, and to Raniere himself. He offered a letter in support for leniency for Keith Raniere to Judge Nicholas Garaufis. He tried to get media attention on what he believed was wrongful methods used by the prosecution.

Then just recently Damon broke with his fellow SOP members.  It was not acrimonious but he has left them.

Interestingly, Damon and Sally, though diametrically opposed on what had been a giant part of their lives, were both acting on principle.

Sally in providing evidence, even before their was a law enforcement investigation and coming out publicly at the sentencing hearing of Clare Bronfman and Damon in continuing to support Raniere despite the fact that taking such a position makes one a pariah, as it has in his Vermont community.

The fact that the couple can remain together and raise their children is perhaps strong evidence of good character.  And is one of the reasons I went on record stating that Damon Brink should not lose his job nor should people feel he is a danger because he was once in Nxivm: He has a wife and is raising children and if they could remain a family despite their disagreement on Raniere, he is likely a good family man, a good father. Consider, if he were not he would have left his wife for Nxivm, shunned her long ago. He stuck with her through her cancer and through her disagreement with something he had made a major cornerstone of his life.

There was a time when she first wanted out and he wanted to stay that he could have left her and been welcomed by Raniere. And there was a time just recently when he was interviewed – after losing his job and now facing publicity that he was a Nxivm pariah – when he could have denounced Raniere and joined the ranks of victims.  He chose to express his doubts, and admit that he was still self reflecting. The easy approach would have been to say — I was brainwashed. I am a victim. I know better now – and he would have been forgiven. Instead he said, I don’t know better. I may have been brainwashed. I am not claiming I am a victim but I am also no longer a follower.

That candor strikes me as honest and brave and the harder path to take for a man in a community where now everybody knows he was once in a “cult.”

The above, all of it, is my evidence that he is not threat to children. He chose to stay with his own children and wife, over Raniere, stuck with what he believed in, and now that he has doubts, admits it without taking the easy road of proclaiming he is a victim.

So I told Paul Heintz for Seven Days, and was quoted in his story, ‘Maybe I’m Brainwashed’: How the NXIVM Cult Followed Damon Brink to Vermont, “I do not think Damon Brink is a threat to any children whatsoever. Just the opposite. I think he’s probably a good kind of role model for kids. He might be brainwashed about Keith. He might be blind to Keith’s scenario. But he’s no threat to children.”

I stand by that statement.

Now, in response to my recent report on Damon Brink, Shivani offers her perspective.

By Shivani

It sounds as though Damon Brink is going through his own processing and is and will continue to be willing to examine his beliefs and thoughts and to ride out his changes his way, the best he can. Don’t shut him down as he does his work upon his own perceptions. That is the opposite of being helpful.

What is it? Twisted swords, unawares? Twisted swords brandished by the Faultless? How original. Ker-plunk. Which is it? Violins or barfbags? People are still funny, huh.

Nevertheless, the Brink fellow is in the process of getting a perhaps more realistic grip on himself and is facing the lies and deceptions which he used to find not only true but sacrosanct. These are stages of adapting one’s perspective, perceptions. It isn’t necessarily going to be easy. This is for Damon to find his way. Why divide him further away from being someone who is looking hard at himself? He does not need rejection. Nobody does. Give what you wish would be given to you. Maybe say, “welcome back” and yes, somewhat cautiously. Be part of the cure rather than fomenting about the dis-ease.

Give him a chance to breathe. You would want and need the same, if in his shoes. He has not been expelled from being human. Nobody here on earth has that right, to expel him. Examine the self and its motivations instead, and take as long as it takes to examine the basis of one’s own thoughts and/or judgments.

Some get off on feeling false superiority by cutting off the heads of others, dreaming that this cold-heartedness makes them look taller, stronger and more nauseatingly “noble.” Dance on. That is a misstep, from what I can see so far.

This talkative, small bitch (my “I”) is still better off as a lovebug, and one ready to learn. A swallowtail’s metamorphosis can be destroyed by a few stupid, impatient slaps. Or by just one big snappy mouth, harm can be done and continued, so hypocritically.

Damon and his family would be welcome at our house and with no shame. Welcomed. Let him be. For the love of God. He isn’t still talking out of his rear end like poor old Clare Bronfman blabbing about Raniere’s wonderfulness and all of the advancement that the chubby perv-boy wanted to donate to the rest of us.

Trust that Damon Brink is undergoing his own sincere self-examination. He is, and he has been trying so hard. Who can miss this?

Maybe bless his heart. Stop freaking and bellowing at a man who is already at least halfway out of the pits of his own hell. Why not?

I wish him the best. What if he were your prodigal son? Chances are you’d be reluctant to reject him as he works on himself.

Damon is living close-by to where I went to college, and Vermont’s nature alone can be so incredibly, magically healing and inspiring. Not joking! There is nothing like the outdoors for getting back in touch with one’s essence, for mending all worldly frailties. I have a feeling Damon is going to mend and that he still has a lot to give. My bet is on him succeeding, especially with Sally by his side. Wow!

That isn’t just optimism. Sincerely, bless their hearts and bless them and their children. Damon? He is gonna do this. Yes. He is doing it now. Peace is returning and Damon Brink can be the wiser for it, for the rest of his days.


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Frank Parlato

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  • Why a person who worked at SOP and who did not participate in any of the charges in the Keith Raniere trial, was fired from his current job for the simple fact of having worked there. On the other hand, it is admirable that although he did not think the same that his wife is a good husband and father. In my opinion, a marriage is not based on the two spouses having the same opinion, but on the contrary that they join together even if they think differently.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Brink, like anyone, deserve the space to sort through their choices. Unless there is a law broken, then hopefully the media can leave them alone to take their steps at their pace. Any time the media enters, or more specifically when it starts adding fear-mongering to the party, it doesn’t make people any more likely to do actual good. It only inspires them to do what makes them look good in the eyes of the media-creators.

    Respect their time, and their family. They’re doing their best.

  • I like to see all different views and am against censorship. Some couples can cope with holding very different views and can still stay together – not always easy but possible. People tend to do better when they keep anonymity though so it is not always in their personal interest to be public about things.

  • Glowingly, flowing brilliant, as usual, Shivani.

    I, too, pray Damon finds his way back from the brink and the Brink’s can sally forth in peace.

    It is not right, it’s ridiculous, to label everyone in NXIVM a child molester.

    Though it’s very disconcerting to me that so many were, remain blind to the toxicity of its teachings and to its criminal activities, I believe they were brainwashed blind —programmed to think of NX leaders and themselves as perfect ethicists past the point where they could distinguish “good” from “bad” without literally descending into a state of cognitive dissonance.

    Do you have any suggestion on how to bring someone out of the eye of the hurricane without seeing their soul shredded in the wild, twisting winds around them? (That’s as flowful as it gets for me.)

    • Heidi-

      Shivani is an excellent writer when she moves away from sounding like Maya Angelou.

      I mean it. She is an excellent writer when she decides to be. 😉

  • Why does Mr. Brink take selfies outside in the winter in the snow? How did Mr. Brink lose so much weight? I need to lose weight.

  • People are fearful for that what they do not know. The use of some words makes it even worse. Why the use of Pariah? In my opinion, that is a destructive way to speak about a person.

  • I’m glad the people who run the Everyone Equals Morristown Community Center have much better developed critical thinking skills than Shivani.

    No one who has only recently started to cut ties with an organization that aided and abetted a serial child rapist has any business being in a position of authority over someone else’s kids.

    Fortunately for Mr. Brink, it sounds like Shivani is eager to hire him.

  • Acting on a principle is way harder than most of us would think. Acting on a principle means to continually evaluate our choices, our actions, to agree on disagreeing, and ultimately, I believe it is about honoring people as they are, and this is the ultimate show of love. I agree that Sally and Damon seem to have a strong relationship because they seem to be acting from the principle of love.

    On a different note, I want to thank you, Frank, for offering a space where people can question and also for setting an example in admitting to mistakes and/or misinformation the way you just did by publishing Sally’s letter where she states that Nancy never told her to not take the GoFundMe money; it would have been easy for you to not publish it. I applaud your earnestness in stating the facts and setting the record straight.

  • Frank-

    I agree with your assessment regarding Mr. Brink. I am of the opinion Damon Brink’s biggest problem is he is a stubborn man.
    *********

    BTW: Ghislaine Maxwell is ‘now’ a +300 for a pardon, and some gambling sites have her at +325.
    https://www.sportsbettingdime.com/news/politics/odds-trump-pardons-himself-manafort-bannon-ghislaine-joe-exotic-snowden-assange/

    I told you a few weeks after she was imprisoned she’d be getting pardoned.

    😉

    It’s a coming. I wonder what Donald’s supporters will say. My guess is they’ll claim Trump pardoned Ghislaine as a favor to Israel or something. 😉

    • Nice Guy: I don’t necessarily disagree with your prediction – but your understanding of gambling odds needs a little work. The fact that the odds of a pardon for Ghislaine are moving from +300 to +325 means that more bets are being placed on her NOT getting a pardon. C’mon man, you’re better than that.

      • Klaviger,

        She was a +400

        Touché!

        I love you man!

        Please keep writing for the Frank Report.

        Let’s hope 2021 is better year for both of us.

        FYI; I’ve taking classes in econometrics from Phoenix University where I was a quadruple major. 😉

        • Have a listen to Shaun Attwood, you tube. Not that you might want to listen to over 300 videotapes (and sooo much more) about these Epstein schmucks and their monkey business, like I have. Gah, it is dark, and there are so many players, layers, deceptions. It’s worse than a fulltime job. I cannot stand those and choose to work freely, for nuttin.’ No receipts. Just some Earl Grey or Cuban coffee. Not for sale. Been there, undone that. Amen.

          But then I was living in Palm Beach when Epstein bought his way into a beautiful, quiet neighborhood back in 1990 and also had a good seat for Trump watching at close range, years before he ran for POTUS. And I know where he and his sisters, wives and sommeliers, etc., shopped and gossiped. One of Trump’s professional sommeliers who quit was a personal friend of my marvelous ex-huzzband, who is off in India now, almost 80 and buttkissing yet another guru, a sequence of one big bang after another, like a freeway pile-up. But that’s cool and the divorce didn’t stop the love between us. He has gotta be him. I don’t gotta. So I’m loving our English language, whilst being descriptive about a French man who is a food genius and a true beauty, forever thankful to know him.

          In fact (and take it or leave it) I was on the beach in the middle of the night, precisely the night before Marla Maples Trump, a lovely Georgia peach, got caught schtupping the chauffeur ( indulge me, please, as I pipe out a rollicking Woody WoodPecker laugh in 5 notes*) and in precisely the same spot on that beach, every bit as familiar as the palm of my hand. Want a few stories? You don’t need them. Too funny? It has been covered so well in both French and Russian novels anyhow, before the Donald was even born. And I am sure that Nice Guy is already fairly hip to that. All of that jazz.

          We ought to have cocktails and mull some shit over, except my beverage would be a Shirley Temple, because ugh. Maybe you can cash me ousside with a Marlboro red? On the up and up. You got any Werthers? Your wife would be needed, that’s all, and hopefully the flu left and she’s feeling a lot better now. ♡♡♡ Personally, I haven’t even left our house or yards, not once, since last early March. Just a gigolo grandmama, you see, who does not like masks or burqas at all. Some say alas. I say all ass. What to do? Stay home. On vacation. WTH.

          Today’s Shaun Attwood podcast was a fine one though, from my favorite bald, fiftyish former prisoner and London activist. It is entitled “Maxwell Bail Denied with Fred.” Fred is especially adept at analyzing, exposing the Brunel aspect of this story. I like Fred very well. These activist gentlemen have years of experience and research to elucidate, for anybody who prefers relying upon the research of others more than working through what research one is given by nature to be willing to do independently. We cannot all pay attention to everything.

          Place your bets about Ghislaine Maxwell. I have only a bet with myself. But notice how Ghislaine was born trapped. Da da da, da da da Daddy. Now, back to Woody WoodPecker. Ha ha ha HAAAA ha! Ah cha ? So many languages! Nice Guy.

      • Claviger-

        If I’m wrong, may my life be as meaningless as Bangkok’s and as pointless as our favorite Texan.

        😉

        • I’d bet on a Trump pardon for Maxwell except the State of New York may not be obliged to honor it…UNLESS…

          Clav, how long has the cunt been in custody now without being charged? Is that kosher?

          Maybe I’d off-set the pardon bet with a bet on some other form of silencing. Extradition? Accident during prison transfer? Cafeteria food poisoning ordered or performed by Keith Raniere?

          • Ghislaine was indicted before she was picked up. The indictment, which was under seal, included the following charges: (1) enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity, (2) transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, (3) conspiracy to commit both of those offenses, and (4) perjury in connection with a sworn deposition. You can read the full indictment at: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/1291491/download

  • Shivani, I was moved by your post until you started throwing insults at “poor old Clare Bronfman” and “the chubby perv-boy.” Can we only be gentle, understanding and patient with people who are moving in the direction we want/like/prefer/deem appropriate? Is it possible to extend that “chance to breathe” that you describe so beautifully to Clare Bronfman, and even Keith Raniere?

    • Your observation is thoughtful. Certainly, it is appreciated and worth (my) hearing and keeping in mind. I will, and thank you.

      Nonetheless, from where I stand, I do tone down the way that I write at the Frank Report, very much so; I am kind of an intense fireball, right out of the gate. This is what is, for me, and this story is not about me. All the same, the story is, in ways, about all of us, about how we think and feel and what experiences each commenter brings to the table.

      The outstanding fuel here is how Nxivm has done harm to its own members, as well as how some seem to still support this movement and are still being harmed, even now.

      Perspective-wise, my whole life has been “toning it down,” cooperatively trying to mesh but intrinsically not a good square peg, and it took five years of bodily living before anyone could convince me that humans can’t fly if we want to enough, just like birds can. Wild and direct. So pretty much every comment allowed me here at Frank’s has already been toned way the fuck down by me already.

      Have you ever gone along the long haul to assist someone who has been emotionally or psychologically trapped inside of a destructive group madness, but who was either unwilling or unable to see its destructiveness? Have you any background experience, through what can be many, many months of concentrated efforts, full of tentative “ups” and flip-flops, when someone you care about needs “excavating” and you so want that person to come out whole, you so want the person to come back? Have you?

      There is usefulness in wielding a hammer sometimes. Other times, and often, only after the hammer, the comforting comes and will possibly be able to help to soothe the rest.

      There is a wide breach, however, between the stances which have been displayed by Raniere and Clare Bronfman vs. that of Damon Brink, who is separating himself away from Raniere’s long, 20 plus year bowel movement.

      I don’t mind at all if Clare breathes or if Raniere breathes…from prison. Neither comprehends, apparently, how come they have been put there. With Damon, there is an opening and a change of awareness occurring. This is encouraging, even if he is still on delicate ground, at least he is moving, looking at himself and at what he has been learning.

      If Clare were personally facing me, my approach to her wouldn’t be harsh, though. She is, in my perception, stuck in a prison of “belief” something like a stubborn mule. She appears to be incredibly out of touch with herself. She mishandled herself every time she spoke in court, making a remorseless plea bargain, still completely swayed by her absolutely stultifying illusions, if not delusions.

      The real task would be to see whether or not Clare CAN love herself or has some kind of self-respect, even a little bit. She seems to have no feeling that really, she’s as lovable as the rest of us. In my opinion, she never got the chance, really. This is her greatest impoverishment. To me, she is a very poor woman.

      If Clare were stronger, the flaws of judgment that she has held would be easier to dismantle. I don’t know if she can reach herself, not really and not yet. It is her choice, but she seems to be ill-equipped.

      You can only give to others what you have the ability to authentically “give” to the self, including gentleness and forgiveness, the room inside to accept what is, to accept the inevitability of changefulness, to “breathe easy.” It never ends. Clare barely even got started. I feel for anyone who is walking in her feet, shoes. She is far from alone but does not have herself available to herself yet. There is a huge gap. Clare will encounter it, on earth or elsewhere. She will and, hopefully, somebody will be able to help her through it.

      In my observation, there IS no opening within Raniere to assist. I don’t find him to be capable of self-reflection. I hammer on his sadistic cruelty and viciousness, as he gathered so much support for it.

      Clare receives the hammer too. A good smack might be the only way to get her to pay any attention. She has continued to endorse Raniere, pathetically and very much to her own personal detriment. The last thing that Clare needs is more support, for her feelings of insanely stupid exclusivity or to have her hiney kissed.

      Behind the fire, there’s the water of tears shed. Some are tears of sorrow. Most by now are only natural tears of thankfulness. For living!

      Again, thanks! There’s nothing like sweetness. And I’ll remember and perhaps be more soft-gloved. But prolly will stay with being myself any which way. Maybe softer?

  • 👏 👏 👏 this is true shivani. These good hearted people deserve better than that selfish bullcrap grifter community held together by nothing but money, lies, and emotional investment in lies and even more money spent on those lies. Welcome back from the brink, Mr. and Mrs Brink. You’re heroes for turning the ship around and staying together keeping your kids safe while this hellstorm was brewing around you.

  • 1. He doesn’t seem “all the way out”

    2. Any indication of such seems to conviently tied to his declining fortunes.

    • But all the way out is very often happening step by step. Something like layer by layer, peeling an onion, and one sees another layer, another segment, after digging through the outer parts.

      We don’t know Damon’s insides or how he’s thinking or feeling. There has got to be some patience and compassion to respect that a person learns in his or her own way, based upon what is real to that individual. Make room for his medicines to arise out of himself. What does it cost you?

      Or maybe be quiet and watch from whatever is your own distance. I am not Damon’s judge. That’s for sure. I just like seeing life hatch and for living to have plenty of good chances to grow its wings. It isn’t mercy, it’s hope dreaming, or maybe I am not dreaming. What about you?

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg; “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson; “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been featured prominently on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and acted as lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He was credited in the Starz docuseries, 'Seduced,' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato has appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest, which was ironic since many credit Parlato as being one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

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