‘Seduced’s Third Episode Is a Deep Dive into Keith Raniere’s Most Deplorable Crimes

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Anyone who’s been paying attention to the case against Keith Raniere is familiar with crimes that sentenced him to 120 years in prison. Yet the full extent of the horrors of NXIVM and DOS have largely been shielded from the public’s eye… Until now. Seduced’s third episode is a chilling and deeply vulnerable examination into the very worst allegations against Raniere.

Any article or documentary about NXIVM has made it clear that Keith Raniere was to blame for the many ways this organization hurt its members. Though the secret women’s only society within NXIVM, DOS, was allegedly founded by actor Allison Mack, it was Keith Raniere who actually headed it. At this point the required branding of DOS members and their “seduction assignment” is practically common knowledge. But STARZ’s docuseries takes this manipulation a step further, chronicling exactly how Raniere abused these women.

As is the case with most things concerning Seduced, this examination is led by India Oxenberg. Though Oxenberg hints at the mistreatment of other women, she bravely keeps the focus on herself. According to Oxenberg, after she was given the assignment to seduce Raniere, he would often text her, demanding pictures of her vagina. If the pictures weren’t close up enough or if she wasn’t smiling in them, he would demand she retake them.

“Keith told me that sending these pictures was a practice in pushing myself out of my comfort zone,” Oxenberg says in the docuseries. “So if you’re comfortable you’re not pushing. So if you’re uncomfortable maybe you’re doing it right.”

This sexual manipulation quickly progressed to sexual abuse. For an entire year Oxenberg claims Raniere would go down on her, something that made her feel “paralyzed” and fearful. Oxenberg was told that when Raniere would abuse her he was actually working on her to help her to solve her sexual hangups. Since it was continuously repeated that Raniere was celibate, she came to believe that these nights with Raniere weren’t actually sexual in nature.

The abuse in DOS also transcended past sexual and psychological abuse to include physical mistreatment. Oxenberg recalls she was once asked to film Allison Mack paddle another first line DOS member, Dani Padilla. This torture was supposedly Mack’s punishment for going over her strict calorie diet. Members of DOS were often required to eat no more than 500 calories a day.

Yet the most horrifying story doesn’t belong to Oxenberg but to a former member only known as “Daniela.” The young woman became close with Raniere around 2010. It was during one of her sessions with the organization’s leader that she admitted to having a crush on a NXIVM member who wasn’t Raniere. Daniela was told that she had to make amends for this transgression by staying inside a townhouse until she had repented. Lauren Salzman was responsible for monitoring her confinement and delivering her food. Altogether, Daniela spent almost two years trapped inside that townhouse. The door didn’t have a lock the entire time. That one disturbing detail speaks to how brainwashed Daniela was by her aggressor.

Her eventual release was also rife with abuse. Daniela was taken to the Mexican border without her paperwork and without any money. By this point Raniere had also gotten to her two sisters. All three women were allegedly impregnated by Raniere and pressured to get abortions.

As horrifying as it is to read and listen to these stories, it’s vital to understand them. Seduced makes it clear that Keith Raniere wasn’t just an eccentric leader. He was a manipulative abuser who caused real physical, psychological, and sexual harm to a countless number of women. That’s a key difference we all need to remember as NXIVM continues to dominate headlines.

Watch Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult on STARZ

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