(Image source from: E! News)
A prominent Indian-American television personality, author, actor, and model Padma Lakshmi recently alleged she had been sexually assaulted and raped at the age of 16.
Lakshmi wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times in reference to the sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that allegedly went unreported for decades.
The Top Chef, an American TV series host, in an Op-Ed, mentioned that she was assaulted at the age of 7 for the first time.
Recounting the incident, Lakshmi said that she dated a 23-year-old "charming and handsome" college student when she was 16, who would "flirt" with her in Los Angeles at her part-time retail job at a mall. But then just a few months into the relationship, Lakshmi said that he sexually assaulted her while she was asleep.
"When we went out, he would park the car and come in and sit on our couch and talk to my mother," she recalled in the piece. "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 three decades ago, Lakshmi said that after a night out with her boyfriend, she fell asleep at his apartment. "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," the star wrote. "I asked, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'It will only hurt for a while.' "
I wrote an Op-Ed for @nytimes about something terrible that happened to me in my youth, something that happens to young women every day. We all have an opportunity to change the narrative and believe survivors. https://t.co/pqFt50t4R1— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) September 25, 2018
Oblivious of what date rape intended at that stage, Lakshmi said she was unsure of whether the incident classified as rape or sex, but continued to tell her future boyfriends that she was a virgin. "Emotionally, I still was," she noted.
Lakshmi further elucidated in what way, when she was 7 years old, she was sent to India for a year to live with her grandparents after she told her mother and stepfather that a relative had touched her improperly and put her hand on his penis. "The lesson was: If you speak up, you will be cast out," the star said.
Lakshmi clarified the reason for coming out with this story now.
"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 concluded.
By Sowmya Sangam