The saga of the DOS sex cult founded by Keith Raniere, called NXIVM within the larger organization, continues as former members of the secret sorority have come to the defense of their master, as reported by Frank Parlato, who broke the story of the sex cult. Eight women who were part of the DOS secret club, which required blackmail material from their pledges and branded women near their genitals, have come out with a written statement of support for the ideology that sent Raniere and billionaire heiress Clare Bronfman to prison for trafficking women and girls. Allison Mack is awaiting sentencing and facing forty years. The women posted their defense online.
We were driven by curiosity, vision, and a desire to challenge social conventions in exchange for increased self-awareness and self-esteem. DOS, which stands for Dominus Obsequium Sororum (Master, Allegiance, Sisterhood), was an experiment in its infancy. It was new, it was edgy, and it was good.
The eight women in the “first line” of DOS (seven of whom were co-founders) were mentored, yes, by a man, but not by just any man, a man with whom these women had built a combined 100 years of trust, friendship and collaboration.
It is incorrect to believe that we, a group of educated, intelligent, and financially independent women were driven by fear and faulty assumptions, and it is even further absurd to believe we were manipulated by an abusive, power-hungry patriarch. Yet, this is the role society has cast for us: that of hapless, unwitting victims who need to be saved from our own choices. Alternatively, we are seen by the general public as “brainwashed” followers who can’t think for ourselves and who are complicit in heinous crimes. Neither of these views is accurate, but understanding the truth is neither simple nor easy.
The binary narrative of “victim/perpetrator” is uninformed and reductive, and offensive to all the adult women who chose to participate in DOS, even the ones who have retroactively withdrawn their consent. It is also disrespectful to victims of actual crimes like human trafficking, none of whom receive the type of fame and opportunities that the so-called “victims” of DOS have enjoyed. While everyone is entitled to feel how they want about an experience, past or present, we believe that objective reality is still significant, if not essential, when discussing events with such damaging repercussions.
Of course, these eight women appear to have been some of the founding members of this cult, which victimized many women, according to Sarah Edmondson, who says she was told she was getting a tattoo that turned out to be a brand instead. She also claims she had no idea the brand was Mack’s and Raniere’s initials and that no one knew that Raniere was the head of the group. Edmondson told her story to the New York Times and wrote a book on the subject.