In reference to the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that allegedly went unreported for decades, Padma Lakshmi, an American actor and model wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times narrating her experiences of sexual harassment.
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I want to thank each and every one of you that reached out, commented, tweeted, shared this piece with others, and more importantly shared YOUR OWN stories. ????????? Because of the time sensitive nature, given what’s going on, I rushed to write this for the @nytimes without stopping to think of the toll it would take on my own emotional well-being. In the past three days I have been anxious, depressed, nauseous, sobbing and holding on to #littlehands so much and so tightly she is highly annoyed! (She has no idea why and thinks it’s mommy’s hormones.) ????????? But the outpouring has been such a salve, a balm to my frayed nerves and feeling flayed. When you sublimate something for over thirty years, you get pretty good at it. Even very close members of my family have been utterly shocked and saddened. My mom has had to deal with her guilt. But she and I have made peace with our history. She, like most parents, has done the best she could. ????????? Doing this very difficult thing has been for me a necessary step. I am no longer scared of ghosts. I hope that my story and those of literally millions of others can contribute to how we address this harrowing topic in our culture. So many of you have messaged me with your own experiences and I am truly sorry that we share this trauma. But the only antidote is taking our power back by being as open as possible, and sending young girls and women the message that there is no shame in speaking out. ????????? What happens to a woman’s body should be HER choice at all times, and in all cases. We must exert dominion over our own bodies. That what’s at stake here. And that’s why I shared what I did. Thank you for your support. ????????? Love, ????????? Padma ????????? #WhyIDidntReport #BelieveSurvivors #TimesUp #MeToo
The Top Chef host revealed that she had been raped as a teenager. She was 7 years old when she was assaulted for the first time and 16 years old when she was raped.
Narrating the incident, Lakshmi wrote that she dated a 23-year-old "charming and handsome" college student when she was 16, who would "flirt" with her at her part-time retail job at a mall in Los Angeles. 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."
After a night out on New year's eve three decades ago, 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.'“
Lakshmi further explained that she was 7 years old when 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.
She concluded, "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."