Guest View: India Might Consider More Holistic View Than ‘Groomed’ and ‘Brainwashed’

India Oxenberg

This guest view began as a comment in Alanzo: India Should Stop Using Self-Destructive Tropes Such as ‘I was BRAINWASHED’ or ‘I was being GROOMED’ and Find Answers to What Happened to Her Without Excess Emotion or Cognitive Distortion

This guest view is written as if it were written by India and purports to be an alternative to the “brainwashed and groomed” narrative of the entirely helpless victim.   

By No Name [writing as if she were India Oxenberg]

I think an objective view of what happened to India Oxenberg would include a more holistic view of events. Something like:

I was conned by people because I trusted the wrong people and didn’t do any independent research into NXIVM. Of course, any research would have been somewhat hindered by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman lying about their qualifications, hacking and spying on critics, and engaging in unwarranted litigation.

Keith Raniere [lower left corner] and Nancy Salzman, who worked together in NXIVM for 20 years, had enemies, some of whom they sued. The lawsuits brought out many revelations which then were reported on in the media. An online search, prior to Frank Report’s creation in 2015, would have shown many articles that called NXIVM a cult. Many of those were in the Albany Times Union, NY Post, Forbes, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and elsewhere. 
Of course I was hearing what I wanted to hear, that they could help me reach my goals, and seemed to be successful early on so I didn’t want to ask a lot of questions. If I had looked into any MLMs, I would have known that very few people ever succeed inside that model but those who don’t are blamed for it.

Keith Raniere, dressed in one of the nattiest sweaters seen in the last century, created an MLM prior to NXIVM called Consumers Buyline. It imploded after various states’ Attorneys General began investigating the company. NXIVM, also an MLM, imploded when Frank Report wrote about the sorority called DOS, which he learned about from India Oxenberg’s mother, Catherine. the NEw York Times picked up the story, the Feds then began an investigation and arrested, indicted and convicted Raniere and several others. 

I also could have found out that types of therapy that NXIVM was using worked better for certain issues and on certain people than others so expecting it to work on everything for everyone was unrealistic.

Then when I was at a particularly low point I was approached by Allison Mack who convinced me against my better judgement to enter into a master-slave relationship where I needed to continuously provide the material necessary to blackmail me into following commands.

Some of those commands were naked pictures, moving to Albany, seducing Keith, an extremely restrictive diet that led to health problems and limited cognitive function, and recruiting slaves of my own.

Allison Mack with India Oxenberg
Allison Mack with India Oxenberg, Mack was the slave master and India her slave. 

I wanted to believe that Allison and Keith were good and this was all to help me reach my goals, so I ignored anything that went against that.

Of course not being able to discuss what was happening with anyone outside DOS helped keep me from questioning what was going on. Eventually some DOS members and others went to the press and the authorities. At this point when I could have given a lot of NXIVM members information they needed to decide what to do, I lied and I watched as others lied about Keith’s involvement in DOS and the seduction assignments.

Keith Raniere was the grandmaster of India Oxenberg and the creator of DOS

Then Keith and the others were arrested and I got to read the evidence which contained a lot of information that I did not know at the time. Over time I began to question if Keith and Allison were actually good or were actually harming people and realized I had participated in harming people myself.

Rather than continue to lie about it, I decided to start telling the truth and provided evidence to the government. Eventually I came to see that I was a prime target for this manipulation because I had enough money to pay for multiple courses, I was a young, attractive woman who fit Keith’s type, and I wanted to believe that I was part of a special sect that was going to save the world by following Keith rather than live in the real world and deal with the mundane day to day grind.

I also recognize that others were even more vulnerable because of their age, immigration status, and indebtedness to NXIVM.

Smiling Nxivm members

I think it is possible for India and others to acknowledge what made them vulnerable to this and the poor decisions they made without pretending that NXIVM and DOS weren’t engaged in criminality and deception.

And as much as India has not fully accepted responsibility for everything she has done, she has accepted a lot more of it than someone like Nicki Clyne.

India and Nicki Clyne.

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Guest View

15 Comments

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  • India told her story. It’s her documentary and her life. All you want to do is rip apart a girl who was already abused and brought into a cult before she was 25 and her brain wasn’t even fully developed. Anyone who puts down victims of coercive control and abuse are scum. Whether it’s India or anyone else in the world. You are blaming the victim and you couldn’t be lower

    • I want to clarify that in no way do I think that any mistakes India made make her responsible for or deserving of the crimes committed against her. Keith and Allison are responsible for that. However, India is not only a victim but is also a perpetrator and, as such, I think we can look at her decision-making process. I think everyone who participated in NXIVM should take a look at their decision-making process to see if there were any signs that something wasn’t right that they missed or misjudged. Keith could not have done what he did for so many years without a lot of people empowering him. Many of those people were subjected to coercive control and other forms of abuse. That is what makes this case so incredibly complicated and difficult to grapple with.

    • Bridya-

      I agree. India was a kid when her Hollywood princess mother got India into this mess.

      If India is cashing-in or in-denial, who cares.
      She was manipulated into sleeping with a sex offender and becoming an accomplice.

      Does she have guilt or is she guilty? I don’t know. That’s her cross to bear. Not anyone else’s…

  • You know, I understand the mechanisms of a high control group and cult tactics. I’ve never been the type to deify any individual no matter how successful that person was.

    What I don’t understand about India is why, after she was named in the original indictment as a co-conspirator, and why after she was told that there was a good chance she would be prosecuted, did she still continue to stay in NXIVM. Right and wrong would tell you if the police are investigating you as an individual, there’s a chance you’ve done something wrong. You would at least read what you supposedly did wrong and take it in. Yet, she didn’t do that until she was alone up there in new york.

    There’s a fine line between victim and perpetrator, but some of these lines which were crossed lacked any common sense and are not believable. Such as signing as a witness to Allison and Nicki’s wedding. She knew they weren’t a couple and knew Nicki needed a visa, so how could she not know what she was doing was fraudulent?

    Some things I can believe were due to a lack of critical thinking, but some things scream clearly that she knew she was breaking the law, no matter how indoctrinated she may have been. That’s my opinion about her.

  • No Name does a great job deleting the anticult ideology India is still hiding behind by describing events in plain, objective language – without tropes, constructs, or metaphors. No Name’s post deletes the hysterical cognitive distortions that anticultism instills.

    But it’s still pretty moralistic in terms of the morals of mainstream society. So this moralism can still hide the treasure of who India Oxenberg really is – which is what she wants to get at to process, evolve and grow from her experience in a minority sub-culture like NXIVM.

    I’ll explain:

    When I was in Scientology, there was a small group of Scientologists who’d signed billion year contracts to be part of the Sea Organization. They walked around in fake navy uniforms, hats and spats, and braids of rank. Some – I shit you not – even carried riding crops and swords.

    Hubbard told them that the job of the Sea Org was to “get ethics in on Planet Earth”. They were the intentionally-created paramilitary fanatic class of Scientology.

    They lived inside a role-playing game.

    How did this role-playing game express itself in reality? They walked around and screamed at people. They had terms for this: “Face-Ripping” “Severe Reality Adjustment” “Getting Someone’s Ethics In”.

    The more cruel and humiliating you could be in getting someone’s “ethics in” the more you were admired by the other Sea Org members, and by other Scientologists who’d escaped your wrath that day. If you could leave a grown man crying and broken in a hallway by the end of your face-ripping, you’d been effective. And Sea Org members were ALWAYS effective.

    I knew a lot of Sea Org members as a Scientologist, and I know a lot of Ex Sea Org members now, after Scientology. By the moral standards of North American mainstream society, their behavior was shameful.

    But they were getting something out of it. It’s why they woke up every day and put on their fake Navy uniform. Saying they were ‘indoctrinated’ into doing it, or ‘groomed’ or ‘brainwashed’ hides what they were actually doing – and why they were doing it – from others, and from themselves.

    The most productive question a person who has behaved this ‘shamefully’ can answer is “What was I getting out of it?”, and then not shame themselves for own true and intimate answer.

    Instead, if they can radically accept this part of themselves, this shadow self who got off on their own cruelty and power, they can gain profound and original insight. They can crack out of both the cult ideology and the anticult ideology. Neither will ever do any thinking for them again.

    In this way, a person who has gotten themselves into, and out of, a ‘cult’ knows more about life as a social animal than other people who have not gone through it.

    If you can get through this process, then having been in a cult is not something you recover from, it’s something you’re strengthened by.

    I pray that all Ex members can do this, and free themselves from this whole cult vs anticult bullshit.

    Alanzo

    • I don’t recall anyone asking you to explain.

      Anything.

      And who are you praying to?

      You bash everyone else over your assumptions that they are religious.

      Let me guess… You also understand God better than everyone else?

        • Good one, retard.

          And btw no one likes a mean retard.

          They might accept a nice tard. A cute tard.

          You are neither.

          I will assume you pray to L Ron Hubbard. Because you did not answer the question.

          Yawn. Done with you.

          But seriously. Heed my advice. No one likes a mean retard.

          You clearly are super, super, desperate for attention & what passes for a connection to someone like you.

          Remember…

          No. One. Likes. A. Mean. Retard.

          Good luck.

        • Alonzo-

          Why aren’t you more cordial and congenial?

          You claim you’re trying to help people but you alienate everyone you come in contact with by being a caustic arse.

          What’s the point of your crusade if you drive everyone away?

          Take a look in the mirror!

          You’re exactly like the former commenter on the Frank Report named Scott Johnson who claimed he was trying to protect people from Amway. He was exactly like you.

          “I’m attempting to help you loser morons.”
          -Scott Johnson

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

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