Valerie Gatto, the Miss USA contestant from Pennsylvania, believes that women need to take steps to protect themselves against the possibility of rape.
Gatto, who was conceived when her then-19-year-old mother was raped at knifepoint in Pittsburgh and describes herself as a "product of rape," advocates for women being aware of their surroundings to reduce the chance of being raped.
“Unfortunately, we have to be aware of these crimes,” Gatto told NBC’s "Today." “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 teaches college-age women self-defense and has participated in the International Men’s March to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.
Even though Gatto suggests women learn to defend themselves, her advocacy has not drawn the same outrage that Miss USA winner Nia Sanchez received when she suggested the same thing.
For Sanchez, feminists claimed that suggesting women learn to defend themselves was a kind of “victim-blaming.” Because empowering women to not be victims is what’s really oppressive, right?