2D274906020126-photo2.blocks_desktop_mediumMiss Pennsylvania Valerie Gatto, 24, a self-described “product of rape,” hopes her experience growing up as well as her mother’s attack can show that anything is possible from a bleak starting point….

Gatto, a marketing consultant, told TODAY.com. “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.

“I grew up with my mom and my grandparents. They never looked at it as something negative. I have a loving, supportive family who told me I could be the President of the United States.”…

Gatto began asking questions about her father when she was young. In third grade, she was told the version appropriate for someone her age: “Something bad happened to me. A very bad man hurt me but God gave me you.”

She said her mother was a 19-year-old coming out of work on a busy Pittsburgh street when a man dressed in black attacked her at knifepoint and raped her behind some buildings. When he was spooked by a passing car with its high beams on, she managed to get away. She uses her mother’s example as a teaching point, speaking to young women 18 to 30 about sexual assault awareness.

~ Today.com, June 5; the 2014 Miss USA Competition will air Sunday, June 8, at 8:00p EST

[HT: reader Bryan; photo via Today.com]


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