Padma Lakshmi Speaks Out on Abuse of Women in India

Posted on January 9, 2013

In light of the horrific gang rape in India, the world is focusing its attention on India's miserable treatment of its women. Padma Lakshmi, who was born in India, spoke with CNN about the treatment of women in India and how it much change for India to be respected on the world stage.

Padma says as a teenager she hated riding the bus to school in Delhi because she would be pinched and groped. She said she and her cousin would go to the market to buy cilantro and they would be harassed in a very scary way. She says there is no word for "rape" in India. There is only a related word that indicates a woman has lost her honor. Padma says that it is intrinsic to Indian culture. She says when half of the population does not feel safe on the streets, it is not a true democracy.

Padma moved to the U.S. when she was very young and grew up here with her mother after her parents divorced. She says she began modeling after college to pay off her college loans. In India, modeling is just a step up from prostitution. Living in the U.S. women have so much more freedom, she says. She says India cannot be respected as a world power they must tackle this tradition of sexual abuse and discrimination against women. Take a look:

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