Padma Lakshmi reveals she was raped at 16, explains why she was silent until now

Padma Lakshmi said that she was raped when she was 16 and showed why she stayed silent about for years.

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“Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi detailed how she was raped as a teenager in a column Tuesday, and explained why they do not report or speak out about the incident year.

In the New York Times op-ed, Lakshmi said, she had a relationship with a 23-year-old man when she was 16 for a few months until he raped her on New Year’s Eve. The two had a couple of parties before returning to the man’s apartment. She added that she was not drunk and was wearing a long-sleeves black maxi dress that only showed her shoulders.

Lakshmi, who is a virgin at the time, eventually fell asleep, but woke up to the sound of what they described as “a very sharp stabbing pain like a knife between her legs.”

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A post shared by Padma Lakshmi (@padmalakshmi) on Sep 25, 2018 at 9:47am PDT

“He was on top of me. I asked, ‘What are you doing?” He said: “It will only pain for a while.’ “Please don’t do this,’ I cried,” the 48-year-old mother-of-one wrote. “The pain was unbearable, and if he continued, and my tears felt fear.”

“Then he said,” I thought the pain would do if you were asleep.” Then he drove me home,” she recalled.

Lakshmi said she didn’t tell anyone about the incident and didn’t report it to the police. She added that at the time that they began to feel like it was her fault that the rape occurred.

“We had no language in the 1980s for the date rape. I thought that adults would say: ‘What were you doing in his apartment? Why were you dating someone that much older?'” she wrote.


The host also recalled when she was seven and how her stepfather is the relative touched her between her legs and put her hand on his penis in an incident, they first talked about on Twitter on Friday, with the trending hashtag “Why I didn’t Report it.”

I was 7 the first time I was sexually abused. He was a relative of my mother’s second husband. I told my parents and they sent me away. #WhyIDidntReport

— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi), September 21, 2018

“Shortly after I told my mother and stepfather, they sent me to India for a year to live with my grandparents. The lesson is: If you speak, you will be thrown out,” she said.

Lakshmi said both the incidents have affected future relationships and her ability to trust, adding that it took decades to speak to her therapist and her partners. Looking back on the rape, she said that she believes that she “let [her] rapist of the hook and let [her] 16-year-old self down.”

On Twitter, Lakshmi also said that she was attacked when she was 23, adding: “I thought no one would believe me, because no one wanted to stand up to him. I had seen the way Anita Hill was treated when she came to the fore. #WhyIDidntReport”

The third time I was attacked I was 23. I thought that no one would believe me, because no one wanted to stand up to him. I had seen the way Anita Hill was treated when she came to the fore. #WhyIDidntReport

— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi), September 21, 2018

Lakshmi detailed her rape in response to President Trump questions why Christine Blasey Ford — who accuses the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted sexual assault — did not report to the police for years about the alleged attack. A second wife, Deborah Ramirez, also accused Kavanaugh of exposure to himself, to her while they were in college.

“But I understand why the two women would keep this information to himself for so many years, without the intervention of the police. For years, I did the same thing,” Lakshmi wrote in the New York Times.

Lakshmi is one of the many celebrities speaking out in support of Kavanaugh’s critics. Samantha Bee, Alyssa Milano, Kerry Washington and other stars on Monday, a member of the #BelieveSurvivors walkout in support of Dr. Ford.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter via @bykatherinelam

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