Inside Nxivm the ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment

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By Brendan PiersonJoseph Ax. When he was unable to attend the meetings in person, the women would take a naked photo and text it to him - making sure he could see where they had been branded with his initials, Salzman said. Raniere, 58, faces charges including sex trafficking and child pornography for allegedly using his self-help group, Nxivm, to hide a secretive sorority known as DOS in which young women were forced to have sex with him, follow dangerously restrictive diets and obey his every command. If convicted of the most serious charges, Raniere faces life in prison. His lawyer has argued at trial that the women became members of Nxivm voluntarily and were never coerced into doing anything against their will. Salzman said some believed he could affect the weather, echoing the testimony of another former member. If he released a new curriculum, for instance, that might create a big storm, Salzman said. Another first-line slave was a woman whom authorities have accused Raniere of sexually exploiting starting when she was only 15 years old, Lauren Salzman testified.

Continuance behind a podium ironically flanked as a result of crosses, the tall redhead delivered a presentation so spellbinding that the addressee seemed to breathe and gasp all the rage unison. Her story of brutal rape, of slavery, of dungeons, of 50 Shades of Grey bondage gone appallingly awry, was so dark and distressing that one wondered how she had even survived, much less summoned the strength to stand before us. At the same time as I came to know her above the years, to enjoy her abstemious sense of humor, her keen acumen, her blunt manner of speaking so as to forces you to take off all mask, I learned the other area of her story too. Her actual story is not a tragedy. It is a lesson of redemption after that courage, second chances and taking chances. Above all, it is a account of empowerment.

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