Beauty Queen Raped at 13 Walks Away From Crown After Skit Mocks #MeToo Movement

April 11, 2019 Updated: April 29, 2019

Maude Gorman had started competing in the Miss America pageant following her sister’s advice as a way to get her confidence back. Gorman, a Hingham, Massachusetts native, had come a long way in dealing with the trauma of what had happened on a playground at the age of 13. That’s partially why what was meant as a joke on stage during one of the beauty queen competitions caused her to skip out of the reception after the show. She then went home and drafted her resignation from the competition instead.

Maude had been sexually assaulted when she was 13 years old. She and a friend had been playing on the swings in a playground, and just as they were leaving that evening, three heavily intoxicated men approached them. Maude ran one way; her friend ran the other way; they ran after Maude, caught her, and took turns raping her.

She had been so ashamed and embarrassed that she had kept the horrible incident a secret for three years. “I got severe PTSD,” she told Boston Globe many years later. “I couldn’t sleep. I was exhausted all the time.” What came next were depression, suicide attempts, and other mental health issues. She went from being an A student to flunking out of some classes and eventually dropping out of high school altogether.

When eventually she told her mom about what had happened to her, the healing process finally began. Maude began intensive therapy, and the family consulted with a lawyer—but given that so much time had passed, it was impossible to find the perpetrators or evidence of the crime. Soon, Maude started taking online schooling and scored straight As.

After getting on the road to her own recovery, she decided to start speaking out for other survivors of sexual assault. It was another reason why she started competing in the Miss America pageants—she wanted to use that platform in order to spread her message. In 2015, Maude made headlines for winning the Miss Massachusetts World America crown. During the competition, she had spoken out for sexual assault victims; Maude also won first place in the “Beauty with a Purpose” presentation, where she gave a three-minute speech on stage and shared her own traumatizing experience.

Yet, that platform came to an end during the Miss Massachusetts pageant in June 2018 when Maude witnessed a display that didn’t sit well with her. During the show, the emcee delivered some comic relief, a skit depicting a woman’s conversation with a man who was dressed up as God. During which, she posed the question of why the swimsuit competition was taken out of the show. To which he replied while holding up a “#MeToo” sign, “Me too, Amy.”

While many audience members, who likely hadn’t had to go through what Maude had, laughed or cheered, for Maude, it struck a painful chord deep down.

After her resignation, Maude opened up about her decision to quit in one of her Instagram posts:

“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 [sic] 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.”

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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

A post shared by Maude Gorman (@maudernliving) on

After the incident, the Miss America Organization posted an apology on their Facebook page. They indicated that the skit had not been approved by the board. Their post stated:

“Moving forward, we will review all content with future emcees and other participants prior to our show to be sure offensive or potentially offensive content is not allowed. We are proud of our contestants and even prouder to be part of an organization that celebrates what makes all of them truly extraordinary.”

Not everyone is so convinced, however. There were many social media users who expressed sympathy for Maude by leaving comments on her Instagram post. One woman shared her skepticism regarding the pageant’s intentions and whether they had planned the skit, “Actions speak louder than words! The Me-Too ‘joke’ (which was obviously not a mispaced [sic] slip of the tongue but *planned ahead* and approved by the show producers etc all of whom are co-conspirators in rape culture) was grotesque, and your response beautiful.”

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