Padma Lakshmi Says Her Op-Ed Made Sex Abuser Apologise To Woman

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Author, TV host, chef Padma Lakshmi, penned a powerful op-ed recalling two incidents of rape, molestation

Massachusetts, US:

Author, TV host and chef Padma Lakshmi, who penned a powerful op-ed recalling two incidents of rape and molestation inflicted on her, has said that her revelation prompted a woman's abuser to apologise to her. "Some say a man shouldn't pay a price for an act he committed as a teenager," Padma Lakshmi wrote in her op-ed published Tuesday in the New York Times. The woman who reached out to Ms Lakshmi, said her abuser, feeling regret, said he "didn't know then what I know now" and apologised to the woman through e-mail, reported news agency ANI.

Ms Lakshmi, reflecting on the impact her op-ed had, said she was "glad" she talked about her instances of abuse and said people had since approached her with "the most moving" stories she read, felt and discussed in her life.

She also said the after-effects of her op-ed had been "a rollercoaster ride and difficult to address".

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Ms Lakshmi on Friday addressed a gathering in US' Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about "The Importance of Connecting Through Others Through Sharing Our Stories".

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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

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She penned the op-ed as a reaction to US President Donald Trump, who cast aspersions on two women who accused his pick for the country's Supreme Court, of sexual assault.

"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.

Ms Lakshmi said she was raped on New Year's Eve at the age of 16 when she was a virgin, by a 23-year-old man she was dating.

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. https://t.co/pqFt50t4R1

– Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) September 25, 2018

"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. I asked, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'It will only hurt for a while.' 'Please don't do this,' I screamed."

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On sharing her story of being sexually abused when she was 7-years-old, Padma Lakshmi was sent to India to her grandparents for a year, by her mother and step-father. "The lesson was: If you speak up, you will be cast out," she said in her New York Times op-ed

"The pain was excruciating, and as he continued, my tears felt like fear," she wrote.

In another incident, she reflected on the abuse meted out to her by a relative of her step-father, who "touched me between my legs and put my hand on his erect penis."
Her parents' reaction, she said, was to send her to India for a year to live with her grandparents.

"The lesson was: If you speak up, you will be cast out," Ms Lakshmi had said in the op-ed.

"The woman pays the price for the rest of her life," she added.

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