Miss Pennsylvania -Miss USA Contestant- Was a Product of Rape

Miss USA Contestant Addresses Sexual Assault as a ‘Child of Rape’

“Sexual assault awareness has gained a new and unexpected voice in Valerie Gatto, a Miss USA contestant who describes herself as a “product of rape.”


The 24-year-old marketing consultant told NBC’s TODAY.com the story of her mother, who became pregnant at age 19 after she was raped at knifepoint.

“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,” Gatto told TODAY. “I believe God put me here for a reason: to inspire people, to encourage them, to give them hope that everything is possible and you can’t let your circumstances define your life.”

Gatto first learned of the assault when she was in the third grade and began to ask about her father. Her mother responded, “Something bad happened to me. A very bad man hurt me but God gave me you.”

Gatto’s message focuses on ways potential victims can reduce their risk of an attack: “I hope to show others how to be proactive, what to do, to be present, to be aware of your surroundings, little things like that,” Gatto told TODAY. The comments put her in the middle of the national debate about how best to prevent sexual assault. Campuses across the country are putting in place buddy systems and other safety measures, but many advocates for sexual assault survivors avoid emphasizing how women can avoid sexual assault because they believe that approach places too much responsibility for an attack on the victim and doesn’t take into account the fact that most know their attacker.

“I’m not sharing this story for publicity. I’m not doing this for any selfish reasons,” says Gatto, who will compete in the Miss USA competition on Sunday. “I truly am doing this to change the world and make a difference.”


Valerie’s mother never considered having an abortion. I hope this is an inspiring story for many women, who might have chosen a different path for an unexpected or unwanted child, or one that was a product of rape or incest.

Jaycee Lee Dugard’s children are another inspiring survival story of love.





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8 Responses to Miss Pennsylvania -Miss USA Contestant- Was a Product of Rape

  1. Claudia says:

    I think we need to take God out of the equation. It wasn’t ‘meant to be’ that her mother was brutally raped. Where is the thought for her? Yes a very bad situation/ attack, with a ‘good’ outcome and wonderful that people have ‘faith’. But compare it to third world (and others’) victims of rape at knife point. They don’t all feel blessed.

    • Alethea says:


      You stated, “I think we need to take God out of the equation.”

      Well Claudia, this is EXACTLY why the world is in such a grave mess. Everyone has indeed taken God out of the equation.

      Maybe if people in third world countries, who are raped at knife-point, had the same attitude as this Miss USA woman does –that their suffering is a Blessing, not a curse– then maybe they would not live in such third world ways, and would not be practicing Voodoism or whatever other kind of satanic “religion” many of them practice –and if they turned their hearts to God, then maybe they would have better lives.

      And let me say that The United States of America is getting a wake-up call with this Ebola situation. If women in this country do not stop aborting children by the millions, and if people do not turn to God, instead of to self/ego/self-love/self-will, then this country will also become a third world country with a total collapse in the economy, war, and serious infectious diseases.


      • mary says:

        Who’s to say that all people who live in third world countries who suffer through genocide, massive rapes, etc and survive do not know how to find meaning and blessings in life despite their situations? Some do, despite being heavily traumatized. I dont think your characterization of “third world countries” and “third world ways” is fair at all. As opposed to “first world ways”? America a so called “first world” country, a country that is filled with all kinds of deep levels of depravity and degeneracy that people openly parade and embrace (child beauty paegents). At the very least, in general these “3rd world” societies abhor and reject these depravities and reflect that in the laws they pass.

        I don’t think it’s fair to judge third world countries without first considering that part of the reason why their societies are in such bad shape are because of historical abuses imposed by imperialistic countries, many of which were Christian (In title, but not in practice). Spanish Inquisition for example. Yet despite the horrible abuses perpetuated in the name of Christianity, a massive amount of people in third world countries still willingly gave up their indigenous religions and embraced Christ as their savior. Many people in the countries that were affected by Ebola (Liberia and to a lesser extent Sierra Leone) are in fact followers of Christ.

        You can’t expect someone who had been traumatized and victimized to feel blessed without allowing them to heal from the trauma first. I bet Valerie’s mother still went through a lot mentally and emotionally. Of course they are not going to feel blessed the moments, days, months, and sometimes years after being hurt. But I believe with prayer and faith in God anything is possible.

        • Alethea says:

          Dear Mary, you are correct on many points. But I did not say every person who live in third world countries and suffer through rape do not know how to find meaning and blessings in life despite their situation. I said “maybe if people in third world countries, who are raped at knife-point, had the same attitude as this Miss USA woman does…” and I said it out of anger, because in that moment, I was angry that Claudia did not honor that Miss America was connected to God with her attitude.

          I was angry that so many people “take God out” of everything, and this is WHY we are in such bad shape in the moment. I also was very clear in that Americans are NO better.

          I was very angry in that moment because I was sick (and still am) of all the TV ads for congressmen who run ads based solely on trying to get votes, or sway votes, based on whether a woman can abort her child or not. I find it to be a disgusting campaign and so very sad if that is all American congressmen think that Americans care about, and even sadder if that IS ALL Americans think or care about. Maybe it is.

          I had also just watched a documentary on Voodism in third world countries when I wrote that message, so that image was stuck in my mind.

          Yes, people of ALL religious beliefs get Ebola. I never said they don’t.

          You are 100% correct that no one can expect someone who had been traumatized and victimized to feel blessed without allowing them to heal from the trauma first.

          My comment was based in anger that Valerie’s spiritual beliefs were being minimized, or scoffed at. Her belief system played a huge role in her life.

          I am well aware that third world counties have many beautifully spiritual people living in them. My anger was more at the American attitude and American beliefs than it was towards the belief system of any third world county citizen.

          America is full of hypocrites, who claim to be “Christian” but don’t even know what that word means, or Who and What Jesus is.


          • mary says:

            My comment was also directed at Claudia and her characterization of 3rd world people as well. I dont know how one infers from this article that God “meant” for valeries mom to get raped . A human bring driven by devilish impulses caused it to happen not God. but it was through God that her mom was able to love this child despite being created out of an act of violence. you also cant discount the women in third world countries who have children born of rape (and this is much more common there) and still love their children just like Valerie’s mother loved hers. The focus on the abortion issue and use of it to sway votes disturbs me as well. Personally I am against it and feel that promoting self control and higher discretion when it comes to sexual activity is better than promoting abortion. Occurrences of unwanted pregnancies would be very rare in people who practice discretion on when, where, and who they have sex with, in combination with using condoms and birth control (although it is good to be wary of the side effects of these drugs. I feel that birth control is an option better suited for married couples who do not want children and that the practice of self control is the method of birth control people should learn at a young age). I honestly don’t know how I feel about abortion in cases of rape or incest, i go back and forth with that one but I do know personally of women who had children from rape and incest who refused to have an abortion and still loved their children all the same and just like Valerie’s mother, turned a horrible act of violence and rape into something beautiful. I can also see how forcing a rape victim to carry out a child could further traumatize her and possibly traumatize the child with a possibly indifferent/ambivalent/resentful mother or by being put into the foster care system where the rate of child abuse by adoptive parents is very high. But you cant really say whether or not an individual will go on to have a good life if you never give them the chance to live it, only God can make that call, and the gift of life to is not exclusive to people who are privileged enough to be born in an ideal circumstance where both parents wanted them and were willing to raise them.

            • Alethea says:

              I agree Mary, that there are many women in third world countries who have children born of rape and still love their children just like Valerie’s mother loves her. My guess is that it is tremendously more common, in those countries, for women to have the child and love it in cases of rape –WAY more common than in America.

              I really wish I had not just watched that show on voodooism before I commented to Claudia, but I had, and it unfortunately sparked my comment… out of haste.

              I am sorry I made it. But I am not sorry I said what I did about Americans needing to get their act together and stop the whole “self-love” trip, and to stop aborting babies like it is birth control.

              I posted the article to show that someone who was a product of rape can still be a beautiful human being, and can be full of gratitude for her life.

              All good points in your comment Mary, thank you.

              My apologies to Claudia for writing in a moment of anger, and fear, because the Ebola situation had really angered me that the nurse got on a commercial airplane with a fever after treating an Ebola patient. She put all those people in jeopardy and through serious fear by doing so. The fact that the CDC told her it was okay to fly was also the gravest error I have ever heard of. I still say the passengers on that flight ought to file a class-action lawsuit against the CDC for putting their life at risk, and for the fear they went through.

              I was angry when I wrote what i did, but I also stick to everything I stated –except the comment about third world countries not having spirituality.

              • Alethea says:

                By the way, many Muslims have more admiration and devotion to God than many Christians do. I deeply respect the Muslim religion and never meant anyone to think I had targeted that religion in my original comment.

  2. Chris and Judy says:

    Thank you so much for posting this, Alethea! “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”

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