Susan Raine Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. She teaches courses on religion, culture, and society. She has a dim view of Keith Raniere.
In her article, Narcissistic Sexual Predation: Keith Raniere’s Grooming Strategies in NXIVM, Dr. Raine does not present a flattering portrait of Raniere.
And she does not think the study of this unusual person is done. She writes, “Certainly, it seems likely that much more will be written about Keith Raniere, the world’s self-proclaimed smartest man.”
I have selected a few of her statements for those interested in the subject to consider whether they are true or false. I would also appreciate supporters of Raniere presenting their rebuttal views.
1. Raniere clearly reveled in attention.
2. He “visibly enjoyed being upheld as the one with all the answers”.
3. Raniere “requires excessive admiration” and views himself “as special.”
4. He clearly is “interpersonally exploitative” and seems to “lack empathy.”
Without Raniere being subject to clinical assessment, one cannot assert conclusively what psychopathology might ail him, but narcissism seems likely.
5. Raniere has manifested many of the DSMV criteria, including the following:
- a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity,”
- a “grandiose sense of self-importance,”
- a “sense of entitlement.”
6. Raniere’s teachings and behaviors prepared—or groomed—female members of NXIVM for his increasingly coercive and humiliating sexual demands.
7. He groomed [women] on an individual basis.
8. Raniere employed multiple grooming strategies.
9. Grooming women and establishing female submission were interconnected processes in NXIVM.
10. Women occupied numerous positions of apparent authority and often were recognized for their contributions. This façade, however, belied Raniere’s misogynistic beliefs and his long-term goals to groom and coerce women for abuse.
11. Raniere often groomed women into initial sexual relationships with him.
12. After initial sexual intimacy… he prepared them not just for ongoing sexual encounters with him, but… for increasingly degrading and exploitative forms of sex.
13. Raniere promoted the belief that he had mystical qualities—for example, that he could control both the weather and electronics because of his special “energy.”
14. He claimed his semen had magical properties, and that sex with him was curative.
15. Raniere claimed his semen had “mystical” properties that caused women to see a “blue light” after he ejaculated.
16. Purportedly, sex with Raniere could… help women recover from the trauma of sexual abuse.
17. Raniere had spent years crafting a mystique around himself.
18. He cultivated an “aura of sainthood.”
19. His followers believ[ed] him to be a “renunciate.”
20. He incorporated an end-times scenario into his teachings, proposing that only dedication to NXIVM would prevent global catastrophe.
21. He told them that he was a genius, that he was never wrong, and that he could save the world (thus, positioning himself as a savior).
22. His followers revered Raniere as a humanitarian life coach who would save the world.
23. Raniere positioned himself as a genius life coach and savior.
Relationships With Female Partners
24. Raniere engaged in multiple sexual relationships.
25. Raniere demanded monogamy from his partners.
26. He insisted women refrain from any form of modification to their pubic hair.
27. He… berated the inner-circle women if they ate “too much” or gained any weight.
28. [H]e explicitly indicated his preference for thin women.
29. Many of the women adopted highly restrictive diets and numerous food controls.
30. In some cases, he required that women lose weight before he would have sex with them.
31. Proclaiming that sex with him was a form of “energy exchange,” and that his semen bound his sexual partners together, Raniere refused to wear condoms.
32. Many women who became pregnant by him were told to have abortions
33. He even indicated that abortions presented opportunities for weight loss.
34. Raniere alleged that, when he was “working with someone” (a euphemism for having sex with a woman), he contributed to her personal growth and could resolve her disintegrations
35. According to Raniere, ‘disintegrations’ are a person’s faulty perceptions of the world due to the failure of adults to evolve beyond their childhood comprehension of reality.
36. He made jokes of a sexual nature about specific women in front of others.
37. He often emotionally isolated women by refusing to talk to them when they fell out of his favor.
38. Raniere claimed that all women are bisexual.
39. Raniere requested, coerced, and or initiated sex with more than one female partner at once; and on one occasion he tried to initiate sex with sisters Daniela and Marianna.
View of Women
40. Jness/Jness Tracks instead laid the foundations for female subservience in NXIVM.
41. Members who enrolled were taught that women lack discipline and morals, and that women are needy, impulsive, spoiled, weak, and self- obsessed.
42. The curriculum reproached women for being devoid of honor and loyalty.
43. The teachings reprimanded women for “crying victim” whenever they (allegedly) wanted to avoid responsibility for
44. Raniere told women that they are not victims.
45. Rather, they are victimizers and that anything that happens to a woman is her own fault, including abuse.
46. Raniere proposed that women like sex when men are angry.
47. Raniere required that [women] recognize their inherent inferiority and submit to men—and, more specifically, to him.
48. He claimed that many women experience their first orgasm only when they are raped.
49. Raniere questioned American age-of-consent laws, stating that the age of sexual consent is 12 in some countries indicating his preference for such rulings.
50. Raniere kept his position as founder and leader of DOS hidden from converts other than the first line.
51. Vows of secrecy, commitments to nondisclosure, and promises to a “lifetime vow of obedience” to their masters consolidated Raniere’s power over the women and their environment,
52. Subservience, physical and psychological manipulations (and punishments), starvation diets, lies, secrecy, and surveillance characterized the sorority.
53. These circumstances left the women in perpetual states of anxiety, self-doubt, and self-loathing.
54. Raniere required explicit photographs of new recruits that incorporated both their vaginas and their faces as initial collateral prior to branding.
55. Raniere’s propensity for taking explicit images of women began long before DOS.
56. The first-line slaves met three times a week at the DOS sorority house. Raniere required that each meeting begin with a group photograph in which each slave had to pose naked, pubic brands on view, and looking happy.
57. The image was sent to him for his approval.
58. Sometimes Raniere attended the meetings, always sitting on a chair above the women as they sat on the floor below him.
59. Raniere intended to install a “three and a half feet tall by four feet wide” steel “sex cage” in a “dungeon” in the DOS sorority-house basement.
60. Raniere planned to cage women so that they would surrender themselves to indefinite periods of isolation and
unpredictable conditions, so that they might further their “growth.”
61. Raniere planned to use “nipple clamps, handcuffs, and bondage” in this dungeon setting.
62. Raniere… identified that pain needs to take priority over selfish needs for security and well-being, as the latter
are evident signs of “weakness of character.”
63. Human Pain taught adherents of NXIVM to expressly choose pain so that they might foster the ability to love more profoundly, establishing “the foundation for someone to confuse pain with pleasure and vice versa”
64. Raniere took “pleasure in skillfully causing pain to increase his sense of control,” thus ensuring that the women that he abused were “anxiously focused on not upsetting or angering him.”
Let’s keep an eye on this and look forward to hearing what others think about Dr. Raine’s view of one of the top three problem-solvers in the world.