FARGO - Former Miss North Dakota and reigning Miss America, Cara Mund is speaking out against the Miss America Organization.
In a letter made public, she describes several cases of harassment from the organization's leadership.
"It would be like you going into a job and then instantly from the moment of you getting it, no one thinks that you deserve it," says Becca Sweet, a former North Dakota pageant girl.
She got to know Mund when competing with her for Miss North Dakota, both are Miss North Dakota Outstanding Teen winners; Sweet, then going by her maiden name Lebak, won it in 2009, and crowned Mund the following year.
She says she saw signs of this coming on social media.
"Some of the posts she was maybe giving across saying like, hey I need help, I need a friend, I need support."
She admits she didn't realize the extent of her suffering.
"I think it was just a shock to all of us to be honest, that something like this had to come out, I think we all saw it coming," Sweet says. "But I think I was surprised that it was this bad"
Sweet is fully in her corner.
"I think everything that's happening with Cara is true... I believe Cara 100 percent."
She's not alone, many took to social media, sharing and posting her picture with the hashtag "Stand-with-Cara."
The Miss North Dakota Scholarship Organization also released a statement of support.
The Miss America Organization also responded, saying her letter contains "mischaracterizations and unfounded accusations," and that it's "disappointing that she chose to air her grievances publicly not privately."
Sweet says Cara shouldn't be restrained and her role as Miss America is more important than ever.
"Little boys and little girls, all the way to adults, they look up to Miss America and she needs to have her face out there more, her voice she shouldn't be behind the facade of what everyone is thinking Miss America's like right now," she says.
But, Sweet hopes it's always darkest before the dawn.
"Out of all of this, it's going to make her a stronger person and I think it's going to give a lot of the girls competing, a different way of looking at the pageant system," she says. "I think it's going to encourage them to speak their opinions and know that they have a voice."
Mund has just under a month left in her reign and there will be a new Miss America September 9th.