NXIVM sex cult survivor India Oxenberg was spotted spending some quality time with her actress mother Catherine in New York City this week, three years after breaking free from the group run by ‘predator’ Keith Raniere.
The pair were spotted in lower Manhattan indulging in some retail therapy. They seemed in high spirits, laughing as they pounded the pavements together in equally glamorous get-ups.
India, 31, wore a paisley wrap dress and white Prada bag while her actress mother wore a funky metallic t-shirt, pants and Gucci backpack.
The pair reconciled in 2018 after a grueling, 18-month effort by Catherine to rescue her daughter from the clutches of the cult.
Together again: India Oxenberg and her mother Catherine enjoy some retail therapy in New York City this week, four years after Catherine rescued India from the NXIVM sex cult
The glamorous mother-daughter-duo were spotted in lower Manhattan earlier this week in equally elegant outfits
The pair were in high spirits and smiled throughout their girls’ day out. India was glamorous in a low heel whereas Catherine kept it comfy in sneakers
India was introduced to NXIVM with her mother in 2011 and was lured in by its promise of self-help and improvement.
Soon enough, she had been cut off by her family and placed on a restrictive 500-calorie-per-day diet.
Catherine spoke openly and fearlessly against the cult, before any of its members had been criminally charged.
Now, Raniere remains in prison, serving a 120-year sentence.
He and his legal team claim he has been unfairly framed and that he did nothing wrong.
He was convicted of sex trafficking among other crimes after a highly publicized trial, and was sentenced in October 2020.
Since then, India has told of rebuilding her relationship with her mother and ‘deprogramming’ from the cult and its harmful teachings. She appeared in the Starz documentary Seduce which aired in 2020.
India previously told of how she helped the authorities unravel the cult and nab Raniere.
In a 2020 interview, she told Good Morning America: ‘What I thought I was learning was self-help and personal growth. What I was learning was the opposite. It was inhuman.
She and Catherine were separated when they first approached the organization under the impression that it was a self-help group.
‘That was all strategic. We were unaware of why they were doing that at the time. its something I learned later on called parental alienation,’ India said.
Keith Raniere is in jail awaiting sentencing on a range of charges including child sex trafficking and child porn. The branding of his initials that members received is shown, right
India previously told of having to ‘deprogram’ from the abuse she suffered at the hands of the cult. She was a part of it for seven years
India and her mother are among the most vocal against NXIVM and how it targeted young women
She then spent seven years being ‘groomed’ by Raniere and other leaders, including, she claims, Allison Mack.
‘That’s years of grooming. When you’re unaware it’s so easy to be led astray especially by people who are masters at manipulation.
‘That’s what these people are. Especially Keith Raniere. If there’s one thing he’s intelligent at, it’s that. He’s a predator.’
Within NXIVM, there was a subgroup that Raniere liked to call a secret society. India says she was recruited for it by Mack, who presented it as a sexual liberation group.
‘It was a trap and a ploy for Keith to enslave women for his own sexual desires. The relationship took a different turn and became sexual when I was commanded to do a seduction assignment.
‘That was the beginning of the sexual abuse and I didn’t see it as that at the time,’ India said on Tuesday.
Coming through! The pair seemed happy to be back in each other’s company. They have kept a low profile for the last four years
Putting the past behind them: Since breaking free from the cult, India married her partner. She and her mother de ella have also taken part in documentaries about the cult
When she joined the organization, she said she was asked to give ‘collateral’ in the form of incriminating information or materials about her family or friends. With that in mind, she said she always had to submit to Raniere.
‘I would describe that sexual relationship as rape. I had given collateral which automatically removes my choice. I did not have the option to say no. Saying no meant hurting my family or hurting my friends and I wasn’t going to do that.’
India broke free from the cult in 2018 after seven years of abuse
She and others in the subgroup were branded with his initials in a suburban house in what was presented to her as a bonding ceremony.
Describing it, she said: ‘It was horrible. At the time I thought I was doing this empowering bonding moment with a group of friends that I can consider my nearest and dearest.’
She says she and the other women were told the symbol that was burned onto their skin was a symbol to represent the elements when in fact, it was Raniere’s initials.
‘We were told it was a symbol of the elements and that this was going to be a bonding experience.
‘We were sleep deprived, we were starved, we were coerced. You don’t just decide to be branded. You are coerced into being branded,’ she said.
She has since covered the marking on her skin with an evil eye and a Latin phrase that translates to ‘still learning.
Catherine tried repeatedly to break her daughter out of the cult but couldn’t get through to her.
‘I was too deeply in. I was scared. I was confused. It was stages of revelations and I started working with a de-programmer who helped me tremendously but I had to be open to it. You can’t force someone to see the truth. I didn’t want to for a long time,’ India said.
Catherine described how trying to coax someone out of a cult is ‘very different’ to other types of intervention.
‘Getting someone out of a cult is very different to a drug intervention, for instance, because they their whole thinking has been taken away.
‘The process of working with a cult defector is to awaken and reignite their critical thinking. To help them start to think for themselves. It’s very gentle. It’s very different,’ she said.