Miss USA contestant reveals: I am a child of rape
06/06/2014 11:09 AM
06/06/2014 11:48 AM
Miss Pennsylvania Valerie Gatto, who will compete Sunday in the Miss USA pageant, revealed on Thursday that she was born after her mother was raped at age 19.
Gatto, who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh, told NBC’s “Today” show that she wants to encourage women to be more aware of sexual violence.
“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,” she said. “Being a voice is life-changing, and I just want to keep going.”
She said her mother told her about the rape when she was young, telling her: “Something bad happened to me. A very bad man hurt me, but God gave me you.”
The Miss USA pageant will air live from Baton Rouge, La., at 7 p.m. Sunday on NBC.
Miss Kansas Audrey Banach, 22, a recent Kansas State University graduate, lives in Kansas City, Kan.
Miss Missouri Erica Sturdefant, 23, a recent Lindenwood University graduate, is a Springfield native.
Join the Discussion
The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.