Miss Massachusetts contestant, who was sexually assaulted at 13, gives up crown after pageant skit mocks #MeToo movement
The skit showed a person saying they were trying to understand why the swimsuit round was no longer there in the competition, the man playing god answered - Me too.
After the host of the Miss Massachusetts competition, a state-level version of Miss America, seemed to take a jab at the #MeToo movement, a beauty queen gave up her crown in disgust. Reportedly, she was gang-raped when she was just 13 years of age. The emcee hosting the Miss Massachusetts competition made a joke about the women's movement on stage, which led to the resignation of 24-year-old Maude Gorman participating in the pageant as Miss Plymouth County.
Reportedly, the host did a skit with someone portraying God during the Miss Massachusetts contest last week, while a woman asked as to why Miss America officials would get rid of the swimsuit competition. The said person then held up a sign reading "#MeToo" to answer her question.
Today, I officially resigned from the title of Miss Plymouth County 2018. While I’m grateful for the opportunities that @missamerica creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #metoo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts. As both a survivor, and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply “let this go”. Instead, I will stand up for every individual who has ever had the courage to speak out; and for every person who felt liberated by the #metoo movement. I will not allow ANYONE to take away that empowerment and liberation, or make it anything less than what it is: AMAZING. #metoo #missplymouthcounty #nomore #rainn #surviveandthrive
The skit which took place during the pageant on June 30, saw the woman kneeling and seemingly praying to God, according to the Observer. "We may have very well seen the last-ever swimsuit competition on stage. It's very upsetting," the woman said. "And I'm trying to understand, God, why it happened."
"Me too, Amy," the man playing God replied, holding up a sign that read "#MeToo," as the crowd burst into laughter.
Mocking a movement that empowers survivors of sexual assault is "inappropriate", especially when it comes from a "women's empowerment organization", according to Gorman, who is herself a survivor of rape.
I woke up this morning to find that my recent interview with @nbcnews went national. Here are a few things you might not know about my work in advocacy: • I’ve helped built houses with my bare hands for survivors of violence • I’ve advocated to elected officials ranging from local Mayors, to State Governors, and even staff at the White House; including the White House Advisor on Violence against Women. •I’ve spoken at national, and international conferences in an effort to speak out more specifically on the effects of trauma on youth. •I’ve worked with several shelters and homes that offer survivors a safe haven in their transition away from abuse •I’ve partnered with leading hospitals, such as MassGeneral for Children, to provide children seeking emergency treatment for sexual abuse a tote bag of resources (including a change of clothes, teddy bear, coloring books, etc) •I’ve published articles sharing my story, in hopes of inspiring others to do the same; and preventing years of painful secrecy • I’ve had my research on sexual violence shared with child life development specialists of the United States Navy at Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia • I’ve presented at seminars with the Uniformed Victim Advocates of the United States Coast Guard at Base Boston • I’ve advocated for the passing of several bills benefiting survivors of sexual violence • I’ve spoken at rallies, protests, and led walks for justice • I’ve volunteered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness as a public policy associate in an effort to stand up for those suffering from PTSD, and depression; just as I have •I’ve met with colleges and universities to discuss response procedures, and have ran awareness campaigns with both RAINN and Start By Believing * I’ve volunteered as a Rape Crisis Counselor, and acted as a Youth Ambassador for the Youth Access to Support Services program with the Center for Hope and Healing And there is still so much more work to be done, there is still so much more progress to be made, and justice to be found. I will continue to fearlessly defend survivors, and be the voice for those suffering in secrecy. You are not alone #metoo
As Gorman announced her resignation on her Instagram, she wrote: "While I'm grateful for the opportunities that Miss America creates for young women, I am also internally conflicted; as the #MeToo movement was mocked on stage during the final competition of Miss Massachusetts.
"As both a survivor and advocate for victims rights and sexual violence on a whole, I refuse to stand idly by and simply 'let this go'. Instead, I will stand up for every individual who has ever had the courage to speak out; and for every person who felt liberated by the #MeToo movement. I will not allow ANYONE to take away that empowerment and liberation, or make it anything less than what it is: AMAZING."
Gorman also implied being bullied by fellow contestants backstage during the competition, according to her Instagram post. "I'm disheartened by the cruel nature of several of the other titleholders backstage; who took it upon themselves to discuss that my 'story was fake'."
When the beauty queen was 13, three drunk men allegedly attacked her in a suburban park. When she and another friend saw the men approaching them, both ran in opposite directions. However, the men were able to catch up to Gorman and subsequently rape her, taking turns.
The 24-year-old star claimed she tried to take her own life after remaining quiet about the said assault for over three years. In an attempt to regain her lost confidence, Gorman says she started competing in beauty pageants.
During a conversation with CNN, Gorman said that although she didn't witness the skit herself, she could hear the script offstage and felt gravely perturbed by it. The beauty queen found the pageant's decision to run the skit rather disheartening, after being outspoken about her experience as a survivor of sexual assault for the longest time.
"I wasn't comfortable staying Miss Plymouth County. It went against everything I have worked hard for," she told CNN. "I was Miss Massachusetts World in 2015. I saw myself as a leader in the community and made appearances to speak out about sexual assault and tell my story."
After the traumatic incident, Gorman said she experienced PTSD, had trouble sleeping, and struggled in school, according to a conversation with the Boston Globe in 2015. "I really felt betrayed," she told NBC Boston of the Miss Massachusetts skit. "To mock a movement that has empowered survivors to stand up is inappropriate, and especially a women's empowerment organization should be unacceptable."
Following last week's event, the Miss America Organization posted an apology on its Facebook page. According to them, the said skit was not approved by the board and was previously not a part of the script. Gorman now says she is done with pageants for good, after hanging up her sash this time in a sensational move.
"I don't see myself competing again," she told CNN. "I am happy with leaving the pageant world behind me."
Having said that, the crown of Miss Massachusetts was awarded to Gabriela Taveras, who had entered the contest as Miss North Shore.
If you would like to report a case of sexual assault or are a victim yourself, you can visit RAINN or call its hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member of the organization.