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'I was a product of rape': Miss USA 2014

 
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livi123 View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:00pm
I think this is interesting, to hear from a person who was the product of rape. We usually only hear from the women that are assaulted, not the children who were conceived or their thoughts. Please share your thoughts.


'I was a product of rape': Miss USA 2014 hopeful reveals she was conceived when her mother was attacked at knifepoint

  • Miss Pennsylvania Valerie Gatto, 24, was born after her mother was raped at knifepoint at the age of 19
  • Rather than let the tragic story define her, she has used it as a platform to help educate young girls about sexual assault awareness

By Margot Peppers

Published: 17:21 EST, 5 June 2014 | Updated: 18:01 EST, 5 June 2014

The woman representing Pennsylvania in the Miss USA 2014 pageant has opened up about how she was conceived when her mother was raped at knifepoint.

Valerie Gatto, 24, revealed to Today.com that a man dressed in black attacked her mother when she was just 19, forcing himself upon her behind a building until a passing car spooked him, and she managed to run away.

Rather than let the tragic story define her, Valerie has decided to use it as a platform to help educate women about sexual assault. 'I believe God put me here for a reason,' she said. 'To give [people] hope that everything is possible and you can't let your circumstances define your life.'

Tragic past: Valerie Gatto, who is representing Pennsylvania in the Miss USA 2014 pageant, has opened up about how she was conceived when her mother was raped at knifepoint
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Tragic past: Valerie Gatto, who is representing Pennsylvania in the Miss USA 2014 pageant, has opened up about how she was conceived when her mother was raped at knifepoint

Childhood curiosity: Valerie (pictured in her very early pageant days) was six years old when she began asking about her father. Her mother told her: A very bad man hurt me, but God gave me you
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Childhood curiosity: Valerie (pictured in her very early pageant days) was six years old when she began asking about her father. Her mother told her: 'A very bad man hurt me, but God gave me you'

Now, Valerie is an advocate for sexual assault awareness, traveling the country to talk to women from 18 to 30 about how to protect themselves against violence and sexual aggression.

And she says winning the Miss USA crown would give her an even larger platform for spreading her message of hope and solidarity.

 

'I hope to show others how to be proactive, what to do, to be present, to be aware of your surroundings,' she said. 'It's so awesome to see their responses. They say it changes their life.'

On her biography website, Valerie - who currently works as a marketing consultant for a periodontal practice - explains that she was six years old when she began asking questions about her absent father, whom she'd never met.

Positive outlook: I believe God put me here for a reason, said Valerie (pictured with her grandfather).To give hope that everything is possible and you cant let your circumstances define your life
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Positive outlook: 'I believe God put me here for a reason,' said Valerie (pictured with her grandfather).'To give hope that everything is possible and you can't let your circumstances define your life'

Exercise outfit: Valerie, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, at a Power Walk event
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Exercise outfit: Valerie, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, at a Power Walk event

World traveler: In summer 2013, Valerie spent 52 days in Europe exploring the cultures and teaching English to Italian children (pictured dancing in Rome)
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World traveler: In summer 2013, Valerie spent 52 days in Europe exploring the cultures and teaching English to Italian children (pictured dancing in Rome)

Finally, when she was ten, her mother told her the truth. She revealed that she didn't tell her family she was pregnant, and had every intention of putting Valerie up for adoption until the night that she was born.

'I believe God put me here for a reason, to give people hope that everything is possible'

'Valerie's mom told her family about her adoption plans; but Valerie's great-grandmother said - God doesn't give you more than you can handle,' reads the beauty queen's biography.

'Her mother listened and decided to raise Valerie with the help of God and her family.'

Valerie told Today: 'Being a child of a rape, not knowing who my father is, not knowing if he's ever been found, most people would think it's such a negative situation.'

Fight for a cause: Now, Valerie is an advocate for sexual assault awareness and she says winning the Miss USA crown would give her an even larger platform for spreading her message
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Fight for a cause: Now, Valerie is an advocate for sexual assault awareness and she says winning the Miss USA crown would give her an even larger platform for spreading her message

Staying strong: She says her familys strong Christian faith was a major factor in her positive outlook on life
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Staying strong: She says her family's strong Christian faith was a major factor in her positive outlook on life

On the contrary, 'I grew up with my mom and my grandparents. They never looked at it as something negative,' she explained.

'I have a loving, supportive family who told me I could be the president of the United States.'

Valerie, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, says her family's strong Christian faith was also a major factor in her positive outlook on life.

Tourist activities: Valerie has made the most of her time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the pageant is taking place (pictured showing off her Cajun shrimp and grits at a local restaurant)
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Tourist activities: Valerie has made the most of her time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the pageant is taking place (pictured showing off her Cajun shrimp and grits at a local restaurant)

Seeing the sights: The 24-year-old beauty queen also took a break from pageant training to visit a house in Baton Rouge for high tea
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Seeing the sights: The 24-year-old beauty queen also took a break from pageant training to visit a house in Baton Rouge for high tea

Competing for the crown: The 2014 Miss USA competition will air on NBC on Sunday at 8pm ET
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Competing for the crown: The 2014 Miss USA competition will air on NBC on Sunday at 8pm ET

It also helped her mother cope with the rape. Valerie says she told her when she was a child: 'Something bad happened to me. A very bad man hurt me, but God gave me you.'

'I hope to show others how to be proactive, to be present, to be aware of your surroundings'

Valerie told TribLive.com in December that even though her conception was under terrifying circumstances, she is always grateful that her mother lived through it, thanks to the bright light from the passing car, which she sees as a meaningful symbol.

'I like to think of that light as my mother's and (my) guardian angel,' she said, adding: 'She always would tell me I was her light - I am the light to illuminate the darkness for all to see.'

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ms_wonderland View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote ms_wonderland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:06pm
that's tough, im glad she found peace and success.

3 pix up...food looks hella good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (7) Thanks(7)   Quote mizzsandra00 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:11pm
I coundnt imagine look in the mirror and seeing the feature of a rapist.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote maysay1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:13pm
I think this happens a lot more often than people realize.

But umm, I'm going to need her to bring her rape prevention platform (be proactive, present, and pay attn to your surroundings) into 2014. The only way to prevent rape is to address the would be rapists.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote PurplePhase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:13pm
that was interesting. And you're right , I don't often hear this side of it.

I wonder if most never tell the child how they were conceived. Just seems so much easier to say the father died or something like that. I'm proud of her for becoming an advocate.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PurplePhase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:14pm
Originally posted by maysay1 maysay1 wrote:

I think this happens a lot more often than people realize.
 


yes that's what I was saying.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote f8dagrate Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:14pm
That's nice that she won I guess. But did they run out of qualifying contestants or something?

Shoe I believe in God and all that, but if she were mine she wouldn't have seen the light of day.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote f8dagrate Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:16pm
But if you get raped by your Father or relative!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote rickysrose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:19pm
thats a heavy burden for a child, glad she came out well and seemingly balanced, with a good relationship with her mom and family

Hopefully her birth father is long dead 




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DiorShowGirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 05 2014 at 7:20pm
Originally posted by f8dagrate f8dagrate wrote:

That's nice that she won I guess. But did they run out of qualifying contestants or something?

Shoe I believe in God and all that, but if she were mine she wouldn't have seen the light of day.


u saying u would of had an abortion?
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