US television host Padma Lakshmi has said she was raped at the age of 16, but kept silent as she feared fingers would point at her for bringing it upon herself.
The 48-year-old Top Chef host, wrote a piece for the New York Times published on Tuesday, where she made the revelation.
The article was prompted by allegations surrounding US President Donald Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by two women, the BBC reported.
However, Trump has defended Kavanaugh and cast doubt on the two women. He tweeted: “I have no doubt that, if the attack… was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.
He also asked Christine Blasey Ford to make public her compliant “so that we can learn the date, time, and place”.
Lakshmi wrote: “President Trump tweeted that if what 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.”
Lakshmi said she was raped on New Year’s Eve by her boyfriend in the 1980s. She had met him, who was then 23, while working in Los Angeles.
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.
“I asked, ‘What are you doing?’…’Please don’t do this,’ I screamed. I didn’t report it. Not to my mother, not to my friends and certainly not to the police,” she wrote.
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?'”
She said she understood why women might not disclose sexual assaults. 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.”
Her account won praise on social media. The allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, which he has repeatedly denied, date back to the 1980s. Christine Blasey Ford, his first accuser, is due to testify before a US Senate panel this week.