Magazine article Variety

Fame for Good

Magazine article Variety

Fame for Good

Article excerpt

Hargitay helps survivors of rape and violence find hope

Mariska Hargitay's fictional life on "Law & Order: Special Victms Unit" inspired her to launch the very real Joyful Heart Foundation.

The mission of the foundation, launched in 2004, is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

As Hargitay says on "It all started when I began my work on 'Law & Order: Speical 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.'"

Hargitay realized she could use her fame created through her work as Det. …

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