'The Vow' Episode 8: How Keith Raniere used Society of Protectors and Jness to set the foundations of sex cult

In this week's episode, we see that Raniere did head many meetings in Jness and how he used the group to tell women that they were more unreliable and disloyal than men


                            'The Vow' Episode 8: How Keith Raniere used Society of Protectors and Jness to set the foundations of sex cult
Keith Raniere (YouTube)

In HBO's 'The Vow', viewers are getting a nuanced and deeper look at the organization NXIVM (pronounced Nex-e-um) founded by Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman, which led to the establishment of DOS — "Dominant Over Submissive" in Latin — which was used to train women to become sex slaves to Raniere. The docuseries brings former NXIVM members, including filmmaker, Mark Vicente, actresses Sarah Edmondson and Bonnie Piesse and Edmondson's husband, Anthony Ames, who speak about their experiences within NXIVM. Of them, Edmondson was the only one drafted into the DOS for the purpose of recruitment rather than her being a sex slave. The series also features 'Dynasty' actress, Catherine Oxenberg, who worked to free her daughter, India Oxenberg, from Raniere and the DOS.

Over the past few episodes, we saw that Raniere was the one who founded the DOS, which was purported to be a women empowerment wing within NXIVM, led by 'Smallville' actress, Allison Mack. In the DOS, if a woman was recruited, she will be held completely accountable to her "Master", who in turn would have her own Master, and Grandmaster, leading up to Raniere. The "Master" would then provide their slaves with tasks, such as responding whenever they contacted the latter, doing penance and even counting calories.

While NXIVM was the umbrella organization, it had other sub-organizations within them. Jness was again purported to be a group for women, while the Society of Protectors (SOP) was a group for men. In this week's episode, we see that Raniere did head many meetings in Jness and how he used the group to tell women that they were more unreliable and disloyal than men. In one session, he tells the women involved that for men allies are functional, whereas, for women, allies are social. He goes on to say that men have an inherent belief in the nature of women that they are more emotional and not trustworthy.

In the SOP, Raniere purported that men were really victims recounting a childhood experience. He recalls a girl supposedly hitting him with a bucket, but when he responded in like, it was he who was reprimanded. Raniere believed that women are protected their whole lives and not broken down or humiliated by experiences like men are, and believes that this is why women were different — because they were treated like "princesses". He also says that masculinity is not something that is bad, neither is power or aggression. He credits men with being able to "subjugate [their] emotions" and comfort, and all of those needs "to a purpose".

The SOP also had readiness drills — where the members were texted at odd hours in the morning or the night to respond to them, which usually involved them getting dressed and heading outside during the cold hours of the morning, as shown in one instance on the episode. Like the DOS, SOP also had principles of penance, where if they messed up, they would have to address with exercises like a three-minute plank.

'The Vow' airs on HBO on Sunday nights at 10/9c.

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