When Valerie Gatto’s uncommon beauty allowed her to win the Miss Pennsylvania pageant in 2014, it was impossible to imagine she was a product of rape.
Her mom was only 19 and planning on law school when she was attacked at knifepoint, raped and nearly killed.
The assailant wanted to prevent his victim from going to the cops by silencing her permanently, but an unusual flash of light scared him and he ran from the scene.
How does light emerge from the depths of darkness and despair?
“Mom always told me I was her light,” she told LifeSite News.
Valerie found out about her conception in the third grade when, when she wondered why she didn’t have a father like other kids and asked her mom.
Absorbing this difficult news, she never accepted an attitude of victimhood. Her mother, who had to abandon her plans for law school to take care of her baby, brought her to church and got Valerie involved in social outreach.
She was raised by her mother and grandparents in a stable, loving home.
“I knew God put me here for a purpose, and He’s the reason my mother and I were saved,” she told CBN. Mom “always would tell me I was her light. I am the light to illuminate the darkness for all to see, and I look at it from that moment of conception, there has been that light associated with darkness.”
“I live my life not thinking of it as something negative but looking at how to turn a negative into a positive,” Valerie told CBN. “A lot of people could benefit from this type of story — not just young women— about how to protect themselves and how to prevent the crimes. It’s a story that could inspire a lot of people and, if I stay a strong person, I can inspire many other people.”
The standard response among doctors and counselors is to advise victims of rape to abort. Just expurgate any evidence of the violent crime suffered and move on as best you can with life.
But others, especially Christians, believe in the sanctity of life. Despite the traumatic and horrifying circumstances surrounding this type of conception, still it is a separate living individual.
Does it make sense to give the death penalty to the child for the crime of the father?
Valerie believed in herself and in her God. “With my faith and going to church and having a church family and a close support system, that I didn’t really let it affect me too much.”
Jeri Ballard studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Los Angeles.