American TV personality, author, actor, and model Padma Lakshmi recently opened up about being raped as a teenager.
Talking about her sexual assault for the first time in her Op-Ed column for The New York Times, the actress Padma Lakshmi has revealed that she was raped when she was 16 by her 23-year-old boyfriend.
Padma Lakshmi revealed the trauma of her rape and why she kept silent about it. "On New Year's Eve, just a few months after we first started dating, he raped me," said Lakshmi.
"I have been turning that incident over in my head throughout the past week, as two women have come forward to detail accusations against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh," she said.
"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," Padma Lakshmi tweeted, with a link to her column.
Padma Lakshmi further wrote that she tells her eight-year-old daughter to be aware of bad touch and yell if someone tries to touch her.
"I have a daughter now. She's 8. For years, I've been telling her the simplest and most obvious words that it took me much of my life to understand. 'If anybody touches you in your privates or makes you feel uncomfortable, you yell loud. You get out of there and tell somebody. Nobody is allowed to put their hands on you. Your body is yours'," she said in her column.
Narrating the ordeal, Lakshmi said that she dated a 23-year-old "charming and handsome" college student when she was 16. He would "flirt" with her at her part-time retail job at a mall in Los Angeles. But 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 actress wrote. "I asked, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'It will only hurt for a while'."
Unaware of what date rape meant then, 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 explained how, when she was 7 years old, she was sent to India to live with her grandparents for a year after she told her mother and stepfather that a relative had touched her inappropriately and put her hand on his penis. "The lesson was, if you speak up, you will be cast out," the star said.
"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.
A few years ago, Lakshmi was grabbed the limelight after she commented about her ex-husband/author Salman Rushdie. She said, “A once beautiful meal that ultimately left her with mood poisoning.”
She also described herself as “a bad investment” after she refused his sexual advances, and painted him as a cold and heartless husband. In her book, Love, Loss, and What We Ate, she mentioned that Rushdie needed constant care and feeding — not to mention frequent sex and that he was even insensitive to a medical condition that made intercourse painful for her.
When her undiagnosed endometriosis diminished Lakshmi’s sex drive, the unsympathetic Rushdie became furious that she was unavailable for the fevered, urgent intimacy they’d once enjoyed, according to the book.
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Last Updated Sep 26, 2018, 2:13 PM IST