Women Claim They Were Branded by Doctors For Initiation Into Secret Society

State officials in New York are checking into the claims of women who say they were tormented for initiation into a secret society.

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According to a spokesman for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, state officials will look into the claims of a handful of women who say they were traumatized and branded by doctors working on behalf of a secret group, in order to see if those claims indeed warrant a further investigation.

This move comes after a report by The New York Times (which can be found here, and I suggest you read) detailed the complaints of women who came forth with their disturbing stories of a group affiliated with the self-help organization NXIVM (pronounced Nex-e-um, for some reason). NXIVM responded to those accusations on their website by calling them "lies."

According to the complaint that a woman filed with New York's Department of Health this past summer, Dr. Brandon Porter performed a number of "studies" for NXIVM's personal development department. If you're wondering what type of studies these were, and why that was put in quotes, the woman claims that one of them involved Porter showing her footage of extreme violence, including gang rape, while she was connected to equipment monitoring her brainwaves. She says that Porter did this without warning her of the footage's contents, and she further says she's been haunted by the images for the past year.

After the Times published their story, Porter reportedly resigned his position at the Albany, NY hospital that he worked at.

In addition to that, an undisclosed number of other women said that a family doctor in suburban New York's Clifton Park branded their lower abdomens to initiate them into a secret society that's affiliated with NXIVM. That brand was said to be the initials of NXIVM's founder, Keith Raniere, and according to one woman members were blackmailed into keeping it a secret. 

According to TIME, NXIVM combated the claims by stating a media outlet inaccurately linked them to a "social group" before labeling the accusations against them as "a criminal product of criminal minds." That seems like a weird phrase. On top of that, TIME also writes:

"In an investigative story by the Albany Times Union in 2012, critics described NXIVM as a multilevel marketing business and Raniere as a cult leader who has drawn more than 10,000 followers to his self-improvement philosophy."

According to NXIVM's website, they describe their organization as:

NXIVM is the turning point - a remarkable development in scientific and psychodynamic understanding, education, and technology that can facilitate this transition so the pattern of humanity's rises and falls can actually be broken and transformed. We find ourselves on this Earth with the resources, intellect, and creativity that can generate abundance for everyone - or destroy all that we have created. NXIVM represents the change humanity needs in order to alter the course of history.

...My head hurts.

Anyway, sounds like something you might want to avoid. You know, just to be on the safe side.

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