HOLLYWOOD: Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi recently talked about being sexually assaulted to explain why women choose to remain silent about their ordeal.
In an op-ed in the New York Times, the American author shares details about being sexually assaulted at the age of seven and raped by her then-boyfriend at 16.
Lakshmi’s decision to share her story comes after two women, who came forward to detail accusations against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, were dismissed by US President Donald Trump. Mentioning one of the two women, Trump wrote in a tweet that if what she said was true she would have filed a police report years ago.
“I understand why both women 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.
In the article, the host shared how she had been ‘taught a lesson’ for speaking up. “When I was 7 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.”
Lakshmi also expressed how experiences of being assaulted and raped affected her ability to trust. “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 said.
“Some say a man shouldn’t pay a price for an act he committed as a teenager. But the woman pays the price for the rest of her life, and so do the people who love her,” Lakshmi wrote.