With viewers tuning into HBO’s “The Vow” and cult leader Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison, there has been a lot of interest in the NXIVM cult in recent weeks.
On Thursday’s edition of “Tamron Hall”, India Oxenberg joined by her mother, Catherine Oxenberg, share their experience with NXIVM.
As viewers of “The Vow” already know, Oxenberg had worked tirelessly to extract her daughter from the cult. In her first television interview since Raniere’s sentencing, India opens up about addressing him to his face in court.
“I did not know what I was going to feel, how I was going to be able to speak. I had no expectation of what it was going to be like, although I did feel very nervous. And by the time I actually sat down and watched all of these incredible women share their stories, I was just so moved and so inspired and I felt so much stronger having all these men and women around me sharing their truth. It made me feel that much more brave when I went up there,” she explained. “And I actually ended up deciding to address Keith directly and I wanted to look him in the eyes when I said certain things, knowing that he is incapable of feeling and he doesn’t actually have remorse and really he is still calling us liars. Honestly, the whole thing was really for me and my own closure and to share what I’ve always wanted to say and for a very long time couldn’t.”
She admitted she had to “prepare myself, both spiritually and mentally and physically” to be ready for seeing Raniere in person.
“I wanted to be sure I felt protected and safe. And of course, you’re surrounded by marshals and you’re completely safe in the courtroom, I wasn’t afraid of the physical threat, but it was psychologically taxing not only on me but everybody involved. I’ll tell you, I felt very different being in court on Tuesday…I felt a certain strength and a certain empowerment by just being able to witness so much resilience. These women and men are extraordinary, it takes so much to leave something like this. It takes the average woman seven times to leave an abusive relationship, let alone an entire group or an organization that is oppressive,” she added.
She also said that Raniere’s 120-year sentence gave her a sense of closure.
“I’m not a doctor so I can’t pass judgment on a diagnosis, but from what I’ve seen and what I’ve researched, he’s a very typical sociopath and he actually gets pleasure from hurting people. And that was one of the most difficult things to reconcile with because for a long time I really believed in these people and I trusted them whole-heartedly. I mean, I gave them everything because I believed that it was good. And that is a level of hurt that is hard to deal with once you come out of something like this because you actually really have to look at it for what it is. It was cruel, and it was criminal and it was inhumane, and the judge validated all of that on Tuesday,” she said.
Catherine was also on hand, and shared her reaction to Raniere’s sentencing.
“I did a lot of screaming and jumping,” the former “Dynasty” star said. “I’d been praying that he would get life without parole and it so far exceeded my expectations. His sentence represents a statement to the world, to victims. There’s hope. There’s no amount of power, money, prestige that won’t get you justice. Your voices will be heard. I think it’ll send a ripple effect throughout the world in terms of predators. Beware.”
“Tamron Hall” airs weekdays on Global.