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‘I was raped when I was a 16-year-old virgin and molested when I was seven’: Padma Lakshmi, 48, reveals painful history and explains why she waited 32 years to tell her story
- Reveals in New York Times that she was raped at age 16 by her boyfriend, then 23
- The TV star fell asleep after a party and ‘the next thing I remember is waking up to a very sharp stabbing pain like a knife blade between my legs,’ she wrote
- ‘He was on top of me. I asked, “What are you doing?” ‘recalls the former model
- The man told her, ‘It will only hurt for a while’ but it kept hurting
- She screamed, ‘Please don’t do this’ and the pain was ‘excruciating’
- Afterward, he said, ‘I thought it would hurt less if you were asleep’
- And Padma also said that she was sexually assaulted many years earlier
- ‘When I was seven years old, my stepfather’s relative touched me between my legs and put my hand on his erect penis,’ said Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi has talked about her horrifying experience when she was raped at the age of 16 by her boyfriend who was 23-years-old at the time.
The 48-year-old TV star wrote about the assault in an op-ed piece for The New York Times which was published on Tuesday.
And the Top Chef star explained why she never never reported the incident to the police.
Lakshmi also recounted another frightening situation when she was only age seven and her stepfather’s relative ‘touched me between my legs and put my hand on his erect penis.’
Brave move: Padma Lakshmi has talked about her horrifying experience when she was raped at the age of 16 by her boyfriend who was 23-years-old at the time; seen on Monday in NYC
Innocence lost: The beauty as a teenager in a photo to shared to Instagram
Padma began the essay by answering the questions so many people asked after a woman is raped.
‘You may want to know if I had been drinking on the night of my rape,’ began the mother of one who has built an empire with her TV show and cookbooks.
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‘It doesn’t matter, but I was not drunk. Maybe you will want to know what I was wearing or if I had been ambiguous about my desires. It still doesn’t matter, but I was wearing a long-sleeved, black Betsey Johnson maxi dress that revealed only my shoulders,’ Padma wrote.
She was living in Los Angeles at the time and met the man at a mall. They had been dating a few months and he knew she was a virgin.
‘The two of us had gone to a couple of parties. Afterward, we went to his apartment. While we were talking, I was so tired that I lay on the bed and fell asleep.’
She was also assaulted as a child: ‘When I think about it now, I realize that by the time of this rape, I had already absorbed certain lessons,’ said the the star who was born in Chennai, India. ‘When I was seven years old, my stepfather’s relative touched me between my legs and put my hand on his erect penis’
And then she was rattled form her sleep by a terrible, frightening experience.
‘The next thing I remember is waking up to a very sharp stabbing pain like a knife blade between my legs,’ she wrote.
‘He was on top of me. I asked, “What are you doing?” He said, “It will only hurt for a while.”
She then said she screamed, ‘Please don’t do this.’
Padma went on: ‘The pain was excruciating, and as he continued, my tears felt like fear. Afterward, he said, “I thought it would hurt less if you were asleep.” Then he drove me home.’
And then the former Vogue model relayed her other awful incidents.
‘When I think about it now, I realize that by the time of this rape, I had already absorbed certain lessons,’ said the the star who was born in Chennai, India.
‘When I was seven years old, my stepfather’s relative touched me between my legs and put my hand on his erect penis.’
She then added, ‘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.’
A mom herself: The cookbook author with her daughter Krishna who she has with Adam Dell
Lakshmi, who has daughter Krishna, eight, with tech executive Adam Dell, then explained why she waited to share her story.
‘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 added.
On her Instagram page on Tuesday she wrote: ‘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 #believesurvivors.’
The cookbook author has already revealed that her childhood was not easy.
They just clicked: The star with her husband Salman Rushdie in 2004 in France
She was born in India, but moved.
As a teenager growing up in Los Angeles, Lakshmi was bullied and endured racial taunts from classmates.
She said this caused her to internalize ‘self-loathing.’
In 1984, when Lakshmi was 14 years old, she was hospitalized for three weeks, and eventually diagnosed with Stevens–Johnson syndrome, which is caused by hypersensitivity to an infection or certain kinds of medications.
Soon after she was injured in a car accident in Malibu.
The Harper’s Bazaar writer suffered a fractured right hip and a shattered right upper arm.
The arm injury required surgery, which left her with a seven-inch scar between her elbow and shoulder.
She married famed author Salman Rushdie in 2004 and the pair divorced in 2007.
She shares daughter Krishna with on-off-on boyfriend Adam Dell, pictured here
She welcomed daughter Krishna in 2010 after battling painful endometriosis.
At time time she was dating Adam Dell and billionaire Teddy Forstmann. Dell was Krishna’s father, but she stayed with Forstmann until his 2011 death.
She and Dell have since reunited.
In addition to penning best selling cookbooks, Padma has been with Top Chef since 2006.
Before that she was an actress on shows like Star Trek: Enterprise and The Ten Commandments.
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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 #believesurvivors. Link in bio. @nytopinion
A post shared by Padma Lakshmi (@padmalakshmi) on
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