Padma Lakshmi not surprised by gang rapes in India
Top Chef star Padma Lakshmi was "sickened" by the brutal rape and death of 23-year-old student Jyoti Singh in her native India, but insists she's "not surprised" by the attack.
Jyoti was gang raped and beaten with a metal pole in New Delhi by six men on a bus while travelling home with a male friend who was also beaten unconscious. She died from her injuries on 28th December, two weeks after the attack.
The assault sparked widespread outrage in India and led to calls for tougher protection for women, but Padma says she wasn't surprised by the horror.
Speaking on CNN's OutFront show, she opened up about her childhood, revealing she hated travelling by bus in India because the behaviour of some male passengers is "aggressive and intimidating".
"I was saddened and I was sickened. I literally felt nauseous. I'm from India and while [the attack] didn't surprise me, it disgusted me... And it reminded me, it brought back to me all of those feelings of when I was walking in Delhi.
"I used to ride the bus in India to school and I hated it. I hated going on a crowded bus because they would always pinch you or grab you and, you know, when you're a teenager... I went to school [for] some years in India and it was terrible...
"There is no actual word for rape. The closest word [in Hindi, India's predominant language] is I guess lootna, which kind of means to take someone's honour away. But to say that because a woman has been violated she no longer has her chastity or her honour is missing the point. Therein lies the problem."
Published: 14th January 2013