American model and author Padma Lakshmi has revealed after almost 32 years that she was raped when she was 16. In an opinion piece in the New York Times, the American TV anchor penned down the reasons that made her remain silent about it for so long.
It was in a suburb of Los Angeles that she had just started dating a “charming and handsome” 23-year-old man. According to Padma Lakshmi, she was raped by him just few months after they started dating, on a New Year’s Eve.
What compelled Padma Lakshmi to come out of the closet was recent accusations of sexual assault against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In the writeup in the New York Times, the American model, who is the former wife of noted author Salman Rushdie, says she understands why the women – Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez – talked about their experience so late.
To explain the same, she referred to a recent tweet by US President Donald Trump, who had questioned as to why Dr Ford did not reveal or file a complaint about her ordeal years ago. Trump had tweeted, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
Narrating her ordeal, Padma Lakshmi said that one reason that made her remain silent and not share the same with even her mother was an incident that occurred when she was seven. She was touched inappropriately by a relative of her stepfather, and when she told her mother about it, she was immediately sent to India for a year to live with her grandparents.
The lesson that she drew from her experience was – “if you speak up, you will be cast out”, thereby affecting her ability to trust.
Padma Lakshmi, who wrote that she was a virgin before she was raped, said that she was opening up about the unfortunate incident because she wanted “our daughters to never know this fear and shame”.