“I had two women holding my hands and my feet so I wouldn’t convulse,” the 29-year-old told People magazine on Tuesday. “I remember the smell – of flesh. I remember crying but not with pain. There was no choice to say no.”
India is coming forward with her story in the upcoming STARZ four-part docuseries, titled “Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult.”
Raniere, the disgraced guru of the self-improvement organization in upstate New York, was convicted last year on charges that he turned some of his followers into sex slaves.
Prosecutors told jurors that the 60-year-old’s organization operated like a cult that won him the devotion of many women, including actress Allison Mack of TV’s “Smallville,” as well as Clare Bronfman, heiress to the Seagram’s liquor fortune.
Prosecutors said Raniere formed a secret subgroup made up of brainwashed female “slaves” who were branded with his initials and forced to have sex with him.
According to the outlet, the branding was part of an initiation ceremony into NXIVM’s master-slave sorority, also known as DOS. India was recruited to join the group by Mack, who would become India’s “master.”
Keith Raniere, the ex-leader of NXIVM, was convicted in 2019 of seven counts that included racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and attempted sex trafficking.
At that time, India and the other women present were told the brand was a “symbol of the elements.” The outlet noted that by that point, after five years of indoctrination into NXIVM, 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 said.
In the documentary, India speaks out for the first time, describing 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 recalled. “I was told it was an assignment to make me feel less vulnerable.”
Actress Catherine Oxenberg (L) and daughter India attend the 53rd Annual Young Musicians Foundation Gala, celebrating Merv Griffin, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 19, 2007, in Los Angeles, California.
(Charley Gallay/Getty Images)
It was India’s mother who went public with her fight to save her daughter from NXIVM in 2017. In numerous interviews, she pleaded with the press about Raniere and his cult.
“I was scared to death but it didn’t matter if I was scared,” the “Dynasty” actress told the outlet. “I knew what I was up against. I knew nobody had dared to do what I was doing because this cult had financially ruined them. I had to save my daughter.”
India said she has since embarked on two years of intensive therapy and deprogramming.
“People ask how could this happen but it doesn’t happen right away,” she explained. “It’s a slow drip of indoctrination and grooming.”
Today, India is grateful that Oxenberg, 59, was willing to fight for her.
The NXIVM Executive Success Programs sign outside of the office at 455 New Karner Road on April 26, 2018, in Albany, New York. Keith Raniere, the founder of NXIVM, was arrested by the FBI in Mexico in March of 2018.
(Photo by Amy Luke/Getty Images)
“I can’t describe in words how grateful I am for that,” she said. “Because the truth is, I didn’t see a future for myself when I was there. I was really kind of committed to being there forever, indefinitely.
“I don’t think anybody thinks that they could close their life, but still be here,” she shared. “But the reality is that my life was hijacked by this group.
“And the fact that I get a second chance to actually just have my life and be like a normal 29-year-old- – and not have everything be lost, and be one of these women that are going to spend the rest of their life either in jail or under house arrest, or with the mark of Keith Raniere — is remarkable to me that I get to have this. And that’s because of what she did.”
Raniere and Mack, 38, were arrested in 2018. The fallen leader was found guilty of seven counts, including sex trafficking, racketeering and possession of child pornography. He awaits sentencing, now scheduled for Oct. 27, and could face life in prison.
Mack, who once shared an apartment with India, pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges. In 2019, she tearfully told the judge, “I was lost.” Mack still awaits sentencing.
“She had a lot of power and control over me and I was scared of her but she can’t hurt me anymore,” said India about Mack. “I think a lot of ways she saw herself as a kind of Joan of Arc character, willing to fall on a sword for Keith.”
India said that despite reliving painful memories, she has no regrets about finally sharing her harrowing ordeal.
“I would have been happy to not say anything, but I knew too much about what happened and I had a moral obligation to make sure it didn’t happen to anyone else,” said India.
“Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult,” airs Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. ET. The Associated Press contributed to this report.