Miss Pennsylvania USA 2014 Conceived in Rape
In part, Valerie Gotto sounds like many other pageant hopefuls. She’s strikingly beautiful and talented with dreams of being an actress. The newly crowned Miss Pennsylvania USA 2014 also graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh. She’s also charming, outgoing, and an inspiration to others.
So what makes her different from her counterparts? It’s her earliest being… her very conception. Valeri’s mother was raped at knifepoint, and her vicious attacker had every intention of killing her. Before he could complete his crime, however, he was suddenly startled by a bright light, and it scared him momentarily. Not wanting to be caught in the act, that bright light gave Valerie’s mom the opportunity to run and get away from her attacker.
Saved from certain death at his hands, however, wasn’t going to be the end of her problems. She later discovered she was pregnant, and the father of her unborn child was the rapist. She kept the pregnancy secret for awhile, thinking that she would give her baby up for adoption. Most people would think that abortion would be the best solution. After all, this was rape, and who would want to raise a rapist’s child.
Valerie’s mother looked at the situation differently, however. She believed that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. Instead she set aside her plans of furthering her education, and with the help of her own parents and family, Valerie was raised in a stable home. Valerie went to church every Sunday where she was also introduced to the concept of giving to those less fortunate. She became involved in many charities as she grew up and through her personal faith developed her mom’s belief of turning a negative into a positive.
Valerie was told at a young age about her circumstances, in an age appropriate manner. When she was older, she became aware of the whole story. Now she speaks openly about her story in order to inspire others to achieve. Turning a negative into a positive has become her mantra. In fact, the belief that young girls are sorely in need of positive role models today is what got her into pageantry.
Today both Valerie and her mom like to think that the very timely light that saved her that night was their guardian angel, and her mom always told Valerie that she is her light. As the new Miss Pennsylvania USA, Valerie hopes to bring that light into many more lives as she uses her new title to raise the hopes and dreams of others.