Last week, Donald Trump lashed out against Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teens. Trump tweeted that if Ford’s story was true, she would have reported the attack to her parents or the authorities when it occurred.
His insensitive words inspired thousands to open up about their own experiences of abuse on Twitter using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport.
Padma Lakshmi was among those to post the powerful hashtag on Friday, pointing to three experiences she had in her early life.
In a New York Times op-ed, the TV host and A.C.L.U. ambassador shared her story of being raped at 16 by her then 23-year-old boyfriend. “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 writes of her assailant.
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Lakshmi details her account of the assault, which occurred while she was asleep.
“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.”
Lakshmi never reported the incident, a decision she believes caused her to suffer more as the years went on.
“I think if I had at the time named what happened to me as rape — and told others — I might have suffered less. Looking back, I now think I let my rapist off the hook and I let my 16-year-old self down.”
The 48-year-old chose to finally come forward with her story in response to the current White House controversy.
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“I am speaking now because I want us all to fight so that our daughters never know this fear and shame and our sons know that girls’ bodies do not exist for their pleasure and that abuse has grave consequences,” she said.
“Those messages should be very clear as we consider whom we appoint to make decisions on the highest court of our land.”
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