On a day when a Bollywood actress has accused an acclaimed actor of sexually abusing her on a film set, author, actress, model and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi has revealed that she was raped when she was16. In an Op-Ed column for The New York Times, the former wife of author Salman Rushdie says that she was raped by her 23-year-old boyfriend.
Talking about her sexual assault for the first time, Padma Lakshmi revealed the trauma of her rape and why she kept silent about it. "On New Year's Eve, just a few months after we first started dating, he raped me," said Padma Lakshmi.
"I have been turning that incident over in my head throughout the past week, as two women have come forward to detail accusations against the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh," she said.
"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 believe survivors," Padma Lakshmi tweeted, with a link to her column.
Padma Lakshmi further wrote that she tells her eight-year-old daughter to be aware of bad touch and yell if someone tries to touch her.
"I have a daughter now. She's 8. For years I've been telling her the simplest and most obvious words that it took me much of my life to understand: "If anybody touches you in your privates or makes you feel uncomfortable, you yell loud. You get out of there and tell somebody. Nobody is allowed to put their hands on you. Your body is yours," she said in her column.
On the accusations against the US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Padma Lakshmi wrote, "Christine Blasey Ford said he climbed on her and covered her mouth during an attempted rape when they were both in high school, and Deborah Ramirez said he exposed himself to her when they were in college."
"On Friday, President (Donald) Trump tweeted that if what Dr Ford said was true, she would have filed a police report years ago. But 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," she added.
The Mistress of Spices actress observed, "These experiences have affected me and my ability to trust. It took me decades to talk about this with intimate partners and a therapist. Looking back, I now think I let my rapist off the hook and I let my 16-year-old self down."
"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," she wrote thoughtfully.
Meanwhile, in the US, the controversial American comedian Bill Cosby has been given a three- to 10-year sentence in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago.