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Was raped at 16 while I was asleep, says Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi


New York, Sep 26: Author-actor-television show host Padma Lakshmi on Tuesday said a man raped her on New Year's Eve when she was 16 years old, but kept silent as she feared fingers would point at her for bringing it upon herself.

Was raped at 16 while I was asleep, says Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi

Lakshmi spoke about the incident in an op-ed in the New York Times after United States President Donald Trump dismissed a woman's allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County in the early 1980s.

Lakshmi said that she dated a 23-year-old man she met at the Puente Hills Mall in Los Angeles when she was 16.

"I worked there after school at the accessories counter at Robinsons-May," she said. "He worked at a high-end men's store. He would come in wearing a grey silk suit and flirt with me. He was in college, and I thought he was charming and handsome."

"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," she said. However, after attending a couple of New Year's Eve parties, she said they went to his apartment where she fell asleep, and woke up with him on top of her.

She said she began to feel the attack was her fault. She explained: "We had no language in the 1980s for date rape. I imagined that adults would say: 'What the hell were you doing in his apartment?'"

Lakshmi also said she "understands" why the two women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault would keep the information to themselves for many years.

Thirty-two years on, she says: "I have nothing to gain by talking about this."

But she added, alluding to Trump's implication that allegations not made immediately are less true or less severe: "We all have a lot to lose if we put a time limit on telling the truth about sexual assault."

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