India Oxenberg recalls that harrowing night in January 2016. By then, she was deep in the throes of the Nxivm cult. She was instructed to remove her clothes. Along with several other women, she was told to walk into a room that had a table.
“I had two women holding my hands and my feet so I wouldn’t convulse,” India told PEOPLE.
There, she was held down and branded with the initials of Keith Raniere, the leader of the now-notorious Nxivm, which New York prosecutors described as a “sex cult.” “I remember the smell — of flesh,” says India. “I remember crying but not with pain. There was no choice to say no.”
It was all part of an initiation ceremony into Nxivm’s secret master-slave sorority, known as DOS. She had been recruited to join the group by another Nxivm member, former Smallville actress Allison Mack, who would eventually become India’s “master.”
At the time, India and the other women were told the brand was a “symbol of the elements.” By that point, after five years of indoctrination into Nxivm, which billed itself as a self-help organization, India had lost her ability to think independently. “The circumstances pushed us to our limits, to the point where you would think you were making the choice to get branded,” she revealed.
India is telling the harrowing story of life inside the cult in the upcoming STARZ four-part docuseries, Seduced: Inside the Nxivm Cult, which begins airing Oct 18 at 9 p.m.
For the first time, she shares the chilling details of how she was lured, brainwashed, blackmailed and initiated into DOS, where she was groomed to have sex with Raniere. “One of my first commands was to seduce Keith,” she says. “I was told it was an assignment to make me feel less vulnerable.”
Raniere and Mack were arrested in 2018, as part of a federal case against Raniere and other high ranking members of the group. Raniere, was found guilty of sex trafficking, racketeering and possession of child pornography. He awaits sentencing, now scheduled for October 27, and could face life in prison.