Padma Lakshmi speaks out about her rape at 16

Padma Lakshmi speaks out about her rape at 16: I understand why women keep silent .

The American TV star, model and author Padma Lakshmi has said she was raped when she was 16 and sexually assaulted when she was seven, and that she can understand why women wait years to disclose such incidents.

In the op-ed for The New York Times, the 48-year-old mode wrote: “When I was 16 years old, I started dating a guy I met at the Puente Hills Mall in a Los Angeles suburb.
“I worked there after school at the accessories counter at Robinsons-May.

“He worked at a high-end men’s store.

“He would come in wearing a gray silk suit and flirt with me.

“He was in college, and I thought he was charming and handsome.

“He was 23.

“When we went out, he would park the car and come in and sit on our couch and talk to my mother.

“He never brought me home late on a school night.

“We were intimate to a point, but he knew that I was a virgin and that I was unsure of when I would be ready to have sex.

“On New Year’s Eve, just a few months after we first started dating, he raped me.”

The ‘Top Chef’ star — – who has eight-year-old daughter Krishna Thea Lakshmi-Dell with Adam Dell — described feeling an “excruciating stabbing pain” between her legs as the male forced himself on top of her.

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Detailing the rape in depth, she recalled: “The two of us had gone to a couple of parties. Afterward, we went to his apartment.

“While we were talking, I was so tired that I lay on the bed and fell asleep.

The next thing I remember is waking up to a very sharp stabbing pain like a knife blade between my legs.

“He was on top of me. I asked, ‘What are you doing?’

“He said, ‘It will only hurt for a while.’

“‘Please don’t do this’, I screamed.

“The pain was excruciating, and as he continued, my tears felt like fear.

Afterward, he said, ‘I thought it would hurt less if you were asleep.’ Then he drove me home.”

Padma didn’t tell anyone, not even her parents, about what happened but she feels if she had she would have “suffered less”.

She said: “I didn’t report it. Not to my mother, not to my friends and certainly not to the police. At first I was in shock. That evening, I let my mother know when I was home, then went to sleep, hoping to forget that night.

“I think if I had at the time named what happened to me as rape — and told others — I might have suffered less. Looking back, I now think I let my rapist off the hook and I let my 16-year-old self down.”

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Padma also revealed she was inappropriately touched by a member of her stepfather’s family when she was just a little girl and she had to move to India for 12 months after telling her parents what had happened. .

“These experiences have affected me and my ability to trust. It took me decades to talk about this with intimate partners and a therapist,” she wrote.

“I think if I had at the time named what happened to me as rape – and told others – I might have suffered less. Looking back, I now think I let my rapist off the hook and I let my 16-year-old self down.”

The article was written in response to a question posed by Donald Trump about Christine Blasey Ford, a psychologist who alleges she was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh, now a supreme court nominee, in the 1980s. The US president asked why Ford did not immediately report what had happened.

“I understand why both women [Ford and another Kavanaugh accuser] would keep this information to themselves for so many years, without involving the police. For years I did the same thing. On Friday I tweeted about what had happened to me so many years ago,” Lakshmi wrote.

“Now, 32 years after my rape, I am stating publicly what happened. I have nothing to gain by talking about this. But we all have a lot to lose if we put a time limit on telling the truth about sexual assault and if we hold on to the codes of silence that for generations have allowed men to hurt women with impunity.”

She said that as a child she had been “taught a lesson” for speaking up. “When I was seven years old, my stepfather’s relative touched me between my legs and put my hand on his erect penis. Shortly after I told my mother and stepfather, they sent me to India for a year to live with my grandparents. The lesson was: if you speak up, you will be cast out.”

This month, Trump disparaged Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, saying she “has nothing” on the nominee and was “messed up” when the incident is alleged to have taken place. Trump accused Democrats of running a “con game” to try to stop the nomination.
One in four girls and one in six boys today will be sexually abused before the age of 18. I am speaking now because I want us all to fight so that our daughters never know this fear and shame and our sons know that girls’ bodies do not exist for their pleasure and that abuse has grave consequences.
Those messages should be very clear as we consider whom we appoint to make decisions on the highest court of our land.

Kavanaugh has vigorously denied the allegations. “I had never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not ever,” he said in an interview with Fox News.

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