Seduced: Ep. 3 “Enslaved”

Intro is a lot of fast clips from the previous two episodes, more or less. Some images we haven’t seen, but no big deal. We cut to Clifton Park, suburb of Albany, New York. We are outside a row of townhouses. India says it’s strange to think of who lives in these houses now. As she walks down the street India ponders what her life would be like if she had stayed in college and pursued a career etc. But in some strange way, she says, maybe I needed to know what I learned from the whole experience. Mmm, I say, maybe, maybe not, but life is weird as hell for a lot of us so, just roll with it India.

In February 2016, India was living in L.A and working as a coach. She had been in DOS for a few months and Nxivm for five years. She traveled to Albany “constantly” to take more classes and it was while she was there that Allison told her about Project: Seduce Keith. India said it put her in a “state of shock.” The point of it was to push India out of her comfort zone and to grow as human being or some bullshit jazz like that. That said, she wasn’t worried about actually having to have sex with Keith because she believed he was a renunciate. Proof that the assignment was complete would be a naked picture of her taken by Keith and then sent to Allison.

We are back at the townhouses in Clifton Park. India points out where Keith picked her up to drive her to his place. Keith talked to her about what she wanted and how he could help her. She hurriedly asked him to take the picture so she could get it over with. She tells us that she didn’t feel like she had a choice in the matter and that she was nervous and scared. After she undressed, India felt like she was in an altered state. She also felt the whole thing was weird, but it was supposed to be a chance to push against her fears.

After Keith took the picture, he told her he was Allison’s master and therefore, India’s grandmaster. “What the hell does that mean?” India thought. The pic above is more revealing than what we learned in “The Vow.” We weren’t told about all of the women that comprised the “1st line” of masters in “The Vow.”

We cut to various clips of insider footage of Keith interacting with his various 1st Line DOS slaves. There are strong sexual and intimate elements to the exchanges. Dr. Hassan said Keith used women as an extension of his needs for power and control. It stems from a malignant narcissism and is a form of acting out his insecurities.

“Isolation: The move to Albany”

India tells us she was commanded by Allison to move to Albany. Cult expert Rick Ross tells us that all of Keith’s most devoted followers would move to Albany to live near him. It was pivotal to make the ultimate commitment to Nxivm. Catherine tells us she remembers the day that India announced she was moving to Albany. Because she was 24 years old, Catherine couldn’t tell her she couldn’t go and further, she had no influence on India at this point. Catherine says she felt despair.

India moved in with Allison and in exchange for rent she cooked, cleaned and managed anything Allison needed taken care of. India says she became more integrated into Allison’s life and the Nxivm community. It was all about living a rigorous lifestyle. So-called goals with consequences if she failed. Punishments for fails was the usual crap: cold showers, standing in the snow for 30 minutes, doing planks…

Allison pressured her slaves to show up for the nightly volleyball games Keith liked to have at a gym called The Sports Barn. India didn’t know this at the time, but there was competition among the 1st line masters. Whoever got their slaves to show up at volleyball the most frequently indicated who was the most devoted to Keith. India made it a point to show up as much as she could as Allison requested.

Keith started paying more attention to India and they would go for walks together. Keith would talk about philosophical stuff. They bonded over both of them being dyslexic. Since the seduction assignment was completed, India thought Keith was going to mentor her in regards to how to build a business and what India’s goals were. Rick Ross says Keith used these walks to pry information out of his prey (so to speak) so he could manipulate them.

India tells us that Allison’s next assignment for her was to send a picture of herself in her underwear to Keith. She was also to diet down to 106 pounds. India was like, what the fuck? I haven’t weighed that since I was 12 years old. Allison instructed her to eat only 500 or less calories a day and to ask permission every time she wanted to eat something. India tells us she was consumed by this task. All day she was hungry and thinking about what she could or could not eat.

Dr. Hassan tells us this is part of the mind control regime to foster obedience. Additional to restricting her calories, India was sleeping little and had to exercise every day. If she complained to Allison about feeling hungry and tired, she was reminded of the commitment she had made to reach the weight goal and what it would feel like to break that commitment. I would be like, fine. It will feel absolutely fine for me to break this commitment. Where is the nearest McDonald’s because I am out of here. (I’m not dissing India, just making a joke.)

We cut to former member Kelly who tells us that she did not know about DOS, but she had noticed that certain women were “losing weight like crazy.” India said that after a few months of being on a starvation diet her hair started to fall out. She talked to a few women like Clare Bronfman and Nancy about the fact that she wasn’t getting her period anymore. They were like, oh, that happens when you diet. India tells us that while Keith got off on controlling people, the dieting thing was because he had a sexual preference for skinny women.

We cut to former member Kelly and India taking a walk together so they can talk about India. India wonders what it looked like from the outside in. Kelly says that though she didn’t know what was going on, every time she came to Albany she could tell that India wasn’t eating and that she didn’t look well. Kelly says she wanted to call India’s mom, because being a mother herself, Kelly felt worried. Kelly tells India that she sat down with her one day and asked if she was okay, but someone interrupted them to brusquely say India was fine. India says, “Geez…” and looks stunned to hear this. I am so confused. Kelly is telling India about a conversation she had with India about India and India is shocked to hear it? India tells her she wasn’t even aware that had even happened. I guess she was really out to lunch. But not literally, because India wasn’t allowed to eat anything.

Kelly says she feels bad for not pushing. Then she gets choked up, because she feels bad for not doing anything to help. India is like, it’s okay. She wonders if she would have even heard or listened to anybody that had tried to intervene anyway. Kelly apologizes for not making it more of an issue and pushing harder. Whatever Kelly. Weren’t you in Nxivm too? You were kind of drinking some kool-aid there yourself, girl.

Several months after moving to Albany, Allison revealed to India that she had other slaves. India had not been aware of the whole pyramid of slavery Keith and Allison had going on so this was new information. Allison told India she would get to meet them and they would be her “sisters,” like in a sorority. A super shitty sorority. No keg parties for these ladies, that’s for damn sure.

There were three other women in Allison’s “pod.” One was Dr. Danielle Roberts, an osteopath. She had been recruited into Nxivm by that quack Dr. Porter who created those mind experiments from the last episode. Danielle ran Eso/Exo, a fitness group under the Nxivm umbrella, started by Keith. There was also a woman named Michele and another woman named Nicole. Their faces are blurred, so, no point in posting pics of those two.

Danielle Roberts.

India felt bonded with Nicole right away, because she felt like she finally had someone she could talk to about DOS. I guess Danielle and Michele were too far gone to relate to on any level. Michele and Danielle are still very devout, by the way.

We then cut to video footage of Allison blathering about the untapped magnificence of women. A fly gets in the way while she is being filmed and she cracks some jokes. She is likable in that moment. India tells us that Allison could be playful and fun or she could be “like a viper” and would berate you. You never knew what you would get.

A former DOS member (with her face blurred) named “Jill” tells us that Allison always looked “exuberantly happy,” almost like she was on stage performing. We cut to India sitting and talking with former member Tabby about Allison. India says she thinks Allison was most comfortable when she had a role and Keith knew that. So, he gave her a role to perform and “she flew with it.” Tabby nods. She says that Allison was unkind to her and was always putting her in her place. India says that was a power play and that Allison had told her many times she enjoyed being a master. She tells Tabby that Allison would transform and become like a different person. I feel like we are all sitting around gossiping about Allison, but it’s fascinating so, carry on.

Jill tells us that in her opinion, Allison struggled with authenticity. And as a performer, she lost touch with who she was and Keith took full advantage of that. Keith pushed Allison, “the most malleable person,” to “very extreme lengths”. She says that Allison turned India and other women into “commodities for Keith.” Ooo, damn. Jill does not play.

India says that she went to Vanguard week in 2016, her first time going since she became a slave in DOS. She tells us that it was very clear that Allison wanted to please Keith. While India is telling us this, we see footage of a performance Allison gave on tribute night. She is singing a song to Keith and it is fraught with emotion. India recalls thinking that the performance was like watching Allison sing a love letter to him.

Allison sings to Keith during Tribute Night, 2016.

“Degradation: The Naked Photos”

In the fall of 2016, Allison took her pod of slaves to the Berkshires in Massachusetts “to bond,” India tells us. It was a pretty nice day, but Allison informed them that the trip wasn’t just for fun. Allison had the women strip naked so she could take a group photo which she then texted to Keith. India was able to see what he texted back: “All mine? 😈” Nicole saw the text too and got pissed. She wanted to know why Keith was getting the pictures in the first place and was he getting off on them? Wasn’t he supposed to be holy? Allison told Nicole she was projecting and denied any sexual intent. India says that she and the other other girls were “kind of paralyzed” while this was going on. Angry, Allison told the group that she was going to punish them by taking close up shots of their “pussies.” I am merely quoting India who is quoting Allison. So the girls had to get naked again and line up to get these shots.

India tells us that you have no way of knowing how you would react to such a situation. You would like to think you would be brave and would stand up for yourself, but at the time India says, “I couldn’t.” For some reason we linger on a professionally taken glamour shot of India while she tells us this. We continue to linger on it for several silent beats before we cut to Dr. Lalich.

Dr. Lalich tells us that it’s very difficult to assert yourself in this type of dynamic, because such behavior would be perceived as being defiant as opposed to assertive. Since the women wanted to be compliant, the last thing they’d want to do is behave like someone who won’t get with the program.

Allison started to ask for monthly collateral with consequences if any of the women missed their deadline. Since they were all running out of things to submit, they were told to make stuff up and send it in. An example might be filming yourself accusing a family member of sexual molestation and horrific shit like that. India said she just started sending in more explicit photographs to avoid having to create false accusations against her family.

Dr. Lalich said that it was just a pile up of blackmail and India tells us it weighed on her all the time. As a result she never wanted to do anything wrong. Then Keith started texting her at random times during the day. He would ask why she was being distant or if she was deliberately avoiding him? I imagine she was, Keith. You are disgusting. Then he just started asking her to send him nude photos. He preferred close up shots of her crotch. The first time it happened India was driving in her car and Keith demanded she pull over and do it immediately. It was required that the shot be close up, explicit and that India looked happy or else he would tell her to do it over again.

The reason Keith gave India for asking for these photos was to push her out of her comfort zone. I would imagine at this point India felt so trapped she would accept any rationalization she could tell herself as to why it was necessary to do all of this. India says that she told herself that if she was uncomfortable then she must be “doing it right.” Under the guise of pushing someone out of their comfort zone, it really can be the perfect bullshit excuse to get someone to act against their better judgement.

Dr. Lalich tells us all the reasons why India and the other women went along with these requests from Keith, but the long and short of it is, they were pretty head scrambled. Lalich tells us that because the Albany Nxivm people were pretty isolated to just being with each other, it’s not like any sane information was coming in from outside that bubble.

We cut to Catherine who tells us that once India moved to Albany she had become very distant. Catherine was not yet at the point where she was ready to admit to herself that things were getting pretty bad. She was aware that there was a large group of women (of all ages) who had given up everything to devote themselves to Keith and Nxivm, but she could not accept that India was headed down this same path. India says that sometimes she felt judged by her mom and that it became easier to just avoid her altogether.

India tells us that it was during this time that Allison informed her that the next thing India needed to do was ask Keith to help her work on her “problems with sex.” “I didn’t think I had any problems with sex,” India says. She tells us that it’s hard to look back at this time when she was so submissive and said yes to everything that was demanded of her. But she did believe that everything she was doing was ultimately good for her. “I didn’t question it,” says India. So if it had to be sex with Keith then it was going to be sex with Keith.

We cut to India in present day in Albany walking outside the cluster of townhouses where Keith and company lived. She points out the house where Keith had his library/office. India was told to go there, get undressed and wait for him. When he showed up he performed oral sex on her for what “felt like hours” while she “just sort of lied there.” Sounds about as pleasurable as you would expect. India tells us she was relieved he never got aroused, because she was able to tell herself that he was really doing all of this for her benefit and not for his own pleasure.

These meetings continued for a year. She was unaware he was having sexual encounters with other women, too. “He was just really good at having people keep his secrets,” India tells us. Later, she found out about even more “disgusting and demeaning” sexual encounters Keith was having with other women in DOS. He would threaten to release their collateral if they said anything.

We cut to India meeting with Dr. Nan Wise who specializes in sex trauma. India tells her the sexual experiences with Keith felt like going to the doctor. Dr. Wise says they weren’t sexual encounters, but manipulative ones. Dr. Wise is very sympathetic when India tells her that emotionally she would feel lousy during these encounters. When India, more or less, told Keith she wasn’t enjoying their get togethers, he told her that was her problem. India wondered if she was capable of enjoying sex. Dr. Wise calls it “psychological rape” as well as physical rape, because nothing about the sex with Keith was genuinely consensual.

We cut to footage of Keith lying on a couch talking on the phone as India tells us in voice over that everyone was told that Keith was celibate, but really he was sleeping with “all the women in his inner circle.” And then some. Keith was humping every leg he possibly could, pretty much. India says that all the women he slept with knew he was not monogamous, but they were required to be. Rick Ross tells us that Keith was a sexual compulsive and he could never get enough. Further, he wanted to see how far he could push it with women and that lead to further escalations in “his torture of women.”

“A Self-Sealing System: Escalated Abuse”

One of the 1st line slaves, Dani Padilla was paddled by Allison as a punishment and India filmed it. Weirdly, the punishment was because Allison had failed on her diet. Lawyer Moira Penza points out that, because this was not full consent there was no “safe word” or “way out of the situation.” India tells us that Dani was the one Keith really started to “experiment on.” It was bondage and S/M shit.

Cilice.

Dr. Lalich tells us that with cults, eventually there is a kind of self-sealing system where compliance becomes automatic and you don’t need to even be told what to do. Everything has become internalized. An example of that is the cilice that Allison would wear when she decided she needed to be punished.

We are told about a young woman named Daniela. Her entire family was in Nxivm and moved to Albany from Mexico. Keith had manipulated her into a sexual relationship and then had her confined to a room for punishment when she said she was interested in someone else. She was kept in the room for two years, monitored by Lauren Salzman. India says that while she had visited the townhouse Daniela was being confined in many times, she had had no idea that she even existed. It’s creepy as fuck and really sad.

Dr. Lalich tells us that while Daniela was confined to a bedroom for two years, there was no actual lock on the door. The self-sealing system was firmly in place for Daniela and she stayed in the room, because she genuinely believed that was the right thing to do.

We then cut to a voice over of former victim of Keith’s who he molested when she was 12 years old. We then cut to footage of Keith talking about curriculum he wants for Jness. It is in regards to the issue of what is abuse and the age of consent. “Is the person a child? Or is the person adult-like?” Keith asks in regards to age of consent. Spoken like a true pedophile. “Some little children are perfectly happy with it,” Keith says. I hate this motherfucker, I swear to God.

We cut to Keith giving a lecture where he says, “Let’s talk about really gross things like raping a baby.” Keith likens that to “sticking your dick in a steak.” It just “feels good.” Radio journalist Kaitlin Cangro tells us that the full extent of Keith’s abuses will probably never be known. Mainly because the Bronfman’s money protected Keith so well.

DOS check ins, calorie restrictions, taking classes, doing readiness drills, giving collateral, late night sessions and walks with Keith. India was exhausted. But now India needed to start enrolling slaves herself. India tells us she didn’t want to. Journalist Kaitlin Cangro tells us that in 2016, things really started ramping up in DOS, because that is when all of the slaves were told they needed to get slaves of their own. Keith had grandiose fantasies that eventually some of the women of DOS would be working in government and influencing elections.

India said that DOS was growing quickly because of all the pressure there was to enroll more women. Former member “Jill” says that slaves and masters were punished if they didn’t enroll new people fast enough. A former member named Debora tells us that her ESP coach approached her about it. Former member Kelly was approached too. Debora and Kelly were both told, as was custom, that they could not be told anything in detail about DOS without first giving collateral. Kelly wanted to think about it first.

We cut to India talking with Debora who ultimately turned down the offer to get involved with DOS. India wants to know why she was able to say no. Debora is very likable. She comes across like a no nonsense, no bullshit kind of person. She tells India there were two reasons why she was turned off of the idea. One, her coach wouldn’t look her in the eye when she was talking about it. The opposite behavior of a strong confident person. And two, she peeped a text her coach was sending to someone saying, “I love you, my master” and she found that creepy. He gut told her this was a bad scene, so she turned down the offer. India tells her she is trying to get better at listening to her gut. Debora tells India she is proud of her.

It is obviously very important that we, the audience know that India did not want to recruit people into DOS. She angrily tells us that every time she had an objection to anything at all she was told to get an EM so she could get over any negative reaction she had. “So I would be constantly be getting EMs, until… I just felt numb” Eventually India had three slaves under her that had given her collateral as well. One gave an extremely explicit video that India sent on to Allison who then sent it to Keith. “Now I feel horrible that I lied to them,” says India. But at the time India thought what she was doing was a good thing.

See, this is one of the problems I have with this girl. She wants to be understood for the bad choices she made while in Nxivm, which I certainly do and have compassion for, but she doesn’t want to afford that same understanding to other cult members she has resentments towards for the bad decisions they made, too.

Anyway, India says that because she didn’t like being a master she would only ask her slaves (whom she refused to call slaves) to journal as their assignments. Allison would tell her she was being too soft. Lawyer Moira Penza tells us that the line of victim and victimizer gets blurred in a situation like DOS. I do know that at one time India was listed, along with Allison Mack, as a perpetrator so obviously she did more than have her “slaves” just write in their journals. I wonder if that will be addressed later.

We cut to Catherine who tells us that India is her most sentimental child and she loves holidays and special events. So, when India said she would wouldn’t be coming home for Christmas, Catherine was worried. We see a video clip of a very tired and gaunt looking India wishing her family back in LA a Merry Christmas. We then cut to a promo video with Keith and Allison where he gives that bullshit spiel about how love is pain.

India tells us that in 2017, Allison told her there would be a ceremony that would involve getting a mark on their bodies representing a permanent commitment to DOS. The 1st line masters had already done it. So it was the 2nd line’s turn to be branded.

“Marking the Victim: The Branding”

Former member Jill tells us it was to serve as a reminder that your relationship with your master was the most important one in your life. Cult expert Rick Ross tells us because of the the environment the women were in, as well as because of the indoctrination, doing such a thing seemed logical.

India tells us that she was told it would be a bonding experience and the brand would be a symbol for fire, water, earth and sky. Jill tells us that she was told the brand would be the size of a quarter. She also thought it would take just a few seconds to get. Ugh, Allison showed the women videos of people getting tattooed using a cauterizing pen and India thought it looked terrible, but she didn’t connect that that would be happening to her.

Dr. Danielle Roberts was tasked with doing the job and she practiced on oranges. The day of the ceremony the women were instructed to strip down in Allison’s bedroom and one by one lie on a table to get the brand. India went first. Michele held her feet and Nicole held her arms down so that India wouldn’t convulse during the procedure. Allison read from a ceremony script. Danielle used a stencil and then traced it with the cauterizing pen.

India said the smell of burning flesh filled the entire townhouse. Initially India didn’t feel the pain but when the pen would reach areas close to her bone, the pain was shocking in its intensity. India felt like she was “out of her body” and she could tell that the brand was going to be larger than she was originally told. India and the other women had to chant, “Feel the pain, feel the love.” The whole procedure took about 30 minutes.

When Keith saw India’s brand he was pleased with it and liked touching it. He also commented that it had healed nicely. India says that at the time she felt positive about it. It represented “something challenging” that she had done with women that she loved. But then, she says, Allison told her it was time for India’s slaves to get branded.

We then cut to Catherine who tells us that in April of 2017, she received a phone call “from somebody who had defected from Nxivm.” Those that watched “The Vow” know this was Bonnie Piesse, Mark Vicente’s wife. Bonnie told Catherine that India was in “grave danger.” End

Next episode: “Exposed” Catherine decides to go public to save India. Nxivm is going to be investigated like the mob. Lawyers speculate if India will be charged for her involvement in illegal activities.

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