Padma Lakshmi, American model and television host, above, gave a first-person account to The New York Times about how she was raped or molested as a minor and did not talk about it for over three decades to explain the long silence of a woman allegedly sexually assaulted by US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when the two were in school.
Lakshmi’s write-up was published on Tuesday, two days before members of Congress were set to hear the testimonies of the accuser Christine Blasey Ford and judge Kavanaugh.
Lakshmi, 48, wrote that she was raped by a boyfriend when she was 16 and molested by a relative of her stepfather when she was just seven.
As a teen, Lakshmi began dating a 23-year-old man whom she met at the mall where both of them worked. On New Year’s Eve, just a few months after they became acquainted, he raped her.
The man, whom she did not name, took her to his apartment at night after attending parties and assaulted her when she was asleep.
When she woke up, she found him on top of her. He ignored her screams to stop.
She did not tell anyone what happened that night because of the shock and the feeling that it was all because of her fault. Lakshmi thought that even if she had discussed the matter with people close to her, they would have asked her what she was doing in his apartment.
Earlier, when she was seven, her stepfather’s relative molested her. Shortly after she told her mother and stepfather about the incident, they sent her to India for a year to live with her grandparents.
One lesson Lakshmi learned from this was if a girl or a woman speaks up, she will be cast out.
Ford’s story moved her. Ford was 15 attending a school party in the 1980s when Kavanaugh allegedly groped her.
President Trump, who nominated him for the big post, questioned why she did not immediately go to authorities.
On Sunday, The New Yorker published a report of another woman, Deborah Ramirez, alleging Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drinking game at a dormitory party when they were classmates in Yale University.
Trump again defended Kavanaugh by describing the second accuser as totally inebriated” and “all messed up.”
Kavanaugh denied both allegations as “smears.”
Lakshmi wrote that she understood why Ford and Ramirez kept quiet for many years without involving the police because she herself did the same.
She said women lose a lot if they delay in telling the truth about sexual assault.