"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi has admitted in an essay that she was raped at 16 and never reported it.
She revealed the ordeal in a New York Times op-ed published online Tuesday. In it, she said she was assaulted by a 23-year-old man she was dating.
“He knew that I was a virgin and that I was unsure of when I would be ready to have sex,” she wrote. “On New Year's Eve, just a few months after we first started dating, he raped me.”
Recounting her nightmare, she said she asked him, "Please don't do this.”
Afterward, she said she stayed silent, like so many other women.
“I understand why both women would keep this information to themselves for so many years, without involving the police," she wrote. "For years, I did the same thing."
She wrote that she couldn't remain silent any longer after three woman have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanuagh. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.
As part of the op-ed, Lakshmi, the mother of an 8-year-old, also wrote advice to her daughter and to the public.
"If anybody touches you in your privates or makes you feel uncomfortable, you yell loud," she wrote. "You get out of there and tell somebody."