A ‘product of rape,’ Miss USA hopeful now educates on sexual assault

Today.com 5 June 2014
Miss 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 also educates women about protecting themselves from sexual assault.

“I haven’t just been preparing for Miss USA for five months. It’s been my entire life,” 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.”

The 2014 Miss USA Competition will air live from Baton Rouge, La., at 8:00 p.m. Sunday on NBC. Gatto is one of 51 candidates, representing each state and the District of Columbia, who will be evaluated in swimsuit, evening wear and interview categories.
http://www.today.com/style/product-rape-miss-usa-hopeful-now-educates-sexual-assault-2D79756426