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Mariska Hargitay – Joyful Heart Foundation

Mariska Hargitay is famously known for her role as Detective Olivia Benson on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Not only an actress, Hargitay is an activist and advocate who has dedicated her resources and time to be an inspiring face for change.

Through her acting role on Law & Order, Hargitay’s eye were opened to the weight that victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse carry. The courage she faced in her on-screen role fueled her passion for campaigning to aid in the healing of these victims, education, and community support.

Hargitay set up Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 with the vision of creating a world free of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and child abuse. Whilst this may seem like an unachievable goal, the foundation strongly believes that violence and abuse are preventable and aims to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Hargitay has played a part in multiple education and awareness campaigns around these issues, not only for Joyful Heart Foundation, but also for other organisation's. Joyful Heart Foundation strives to support survivors in their healing process and play a part in ending this violence forever.

Hargitay’s acting role sees her aiding these victims on-screen, but in her off-screen life, Hargitay is dedicated to the cause and is strongly dedicated to assisting the victims of sexual and domestic abuse and child abuse. Hargitay spends as much time off screen as she does on screen dedicating her time to this cause.

As Hargitay says on to “It all started when I began my work on ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ over a decade ago. In my research for my role, I encountered statistics that shocked me: One in three women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Every two minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted. More than five children die every day in this country as a result of child abuse and neglect, and up to 15 million children witness domestic violence in their homes each year… I was also getting letters from viewers who were disclosing their stories of abuse to me. Normally, I’d get letters saying ‘Hi, can I please have an autographed picture,’ but now it was different: ‘I’m 15 and my dad has been raping me since I was 11 and I’ve never told anyone."

For more information head to the Joyful Heart Foundation website.



Yours ethically,

Holly Moon, Content Manager

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