SamGillette andLiz McNeil
Three months afterfirst revealing the story of her daughter India’s involvement with the groupNXIVM, Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg has decided to write a book to share herstory with the hope it can also help others.
Her memoir, CAPTIVE:A Mother’s Crusade to Save Her Daughter From a Terrifying Cult, cowritten byNatasha Stoynoff, will be released in Fall and will recount Catherine’sestrangement from her 26-year-old daughter, India, and her attempt to rescue her from what shebelieves is a dangerous group.
“I was completelyignorant about these sorts of the dangers and traps associated with theseso-called Personal Growth Self Help groups. It’s an $11 billion, completelyunregulated industry, so I reached out to a lot of experts for guidance,”Catherine tells PEOPLE. “What I learned along the way could help others [and]prevent them from falling into the same trap, know what warning signs to lookfor, and also to give hope to those parents that are struggling and who havelost children to similar situations.
“So many peoplereached out to me when I went public saying, ‘Oh my God, I’m in the samesituation. I’m heartbroken, I’ve lost my child. I don’t know what to do,” sheadds.
India was 20 yearsold and a burgeoning entrepreneur when she and her mother attended a meeting aspart of a leadership seminar organized by NXIVM in 2011. While the meeting wassupposed to provide methods for self-improvement, Catherine told PEOPLE shefound the organization “weird and creepy.” India didn’t have the samehesitations and immersed herself in the organization over the next few years.
NXIVM has been aroundfor 20 years, with approximately 16,000 people paying thousands of dollars forexperiences like executive-coaching workshops. Run by Keith Raniere, 57, who isknown as “Vanguard” to members, NXIVM has offices throughout the country and inMexico.
“The mission of NXIVMis to help transform and, ultimately, be an expression of the noblecivilization of humans,” the organization states on their website.
Not only do formerfollowers dispute this claim, many have shared horror stories of allegedlyhaving their skin branded with Rainere’s initials and describe the group as a“cult.”
Last April, Catherineclaims she learned her daughter was also in potential danger.
Her friend, BonniePiesse, 34, had left the group and warned Catherine that India was taking partin what Catherine calls a “secret sisterhood.”
“You need to saveyour daughter,” Piesse told her, according to Catherine. “You need to saveIndia.”
In December, the NewYork Times reported that Justice Department has opened an investigation intoNXIVM.
But that doesn’t easeCatherine’s immediate concerns for her daughter.
Catherine previouslytold PEOPLE that she learned India was on a restrictive diet, suffered hairloss, and hadn’t had her period in a year. Now she says she’s told that Indiais eating more because “they’re trying to look more normal,” but says she’s stillworried.
After Catherinedecided to go public with her allegations in October, India became angry andfurther withdrew from her. Catherine tells PEOPLE that India was recently inLos Angeles, but wasn’t willing to see her.
“She was in L.A. andI was hoping that was a good sign, and I was very distressed when she flewback,” Catherine says. “Even is she’s not willing to see me, the fact thatshe’s outside of their sphere of influence physically gave me hope.”
Though India isn’talways at the NXIVM headquarters in Albany, New York, Catherine thinks theystill keep a “tight leash” on her.
“I’m assuming theykept her on a tight leash so that they still had a lot of influence over her,”she says. “Because if she [leaves the group], that’s a tremendous blow to [NXIVM]considering she’s been such a public figure for them. I think that that couldbe the death blow and I think they’re doing everything they can to keep herin.”
As India becomes moreentangled in the controversial group, Catherine is writing the memoir inanother attempt to save India.
CAPTIVE will revealthe steps Catherine has taken to extract her daughter from what she considers a“dangerous, mind-controlling cult” in which she claims the women are treatedlike “slaves.” She also draws on interviews from former members and cultexperts.
“I’ve grown as aperson through this experience [and] I’ve become more inclusive,” Catherinesays. “It’s no longer just about my daughter. It’s about helping everybody whohas suffered through this.”
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