Peace Over Violence Humanitarian Awards

Friday, 6 November 2009
Los Angeles, CA

Peave Over Violence LogoMariska Hargitay, accompanied by Joyful Heart Board members, staff and other guests, joined more than 450 civic and community leaders at Peace Over Violence's 38th Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner. The event, held at The Beverly Hills Hotel, recognized the contributions of leaders across sectors in the fight against sexual and domestic violence. The annual fundraising dinner brought together a diverse group of leaders from the public sector, community organizations, private corporations and the entertainment industry to raise awareness on teen and adult sexual and domestic violence.

During the evening, Peace Over Violence (POV) honored the Joyful Heart Foundation with the Empowerment Award.

Through pioneering treatments, wellness programs and life-changing retreats, Joyful Heart's services are revolutionary in an often overlooked area. The Foundation provides healing and empowering experiences to survivors of violence and also calls the public to action and helps to publicize the need for the increased awareness and respect for the recovery from sexual and domestic violence. In recognition of these contributions and our ongoing relationship, Peace Over Violence is proud to present the Joyful Heart Foundation and Mariska Hargitay with the Empowerment Award.

JHF founding Board member and Executive Producer of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dr. Neal Baer, introduced Mariska and presented her with award after describing the impact she has had on the issues that both POV and Joyful Heart seek to address.

While accepting the award, Mariska shared her desire to give it right back to POV in honor of their early support for the Foundation's programs:

Thank you Neal for what you said, and for being the source of so much light around the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse that we are all seeking to address. You have been there for every step of Joyful Heart's journey, and I am so grateful. I also want to acknowledge my founding board members who are here tonight and who have been there from the very beginning. On that topic of being there for every step of the way, I just want to say to Peace Over Violence that as honored as all of us are at Joyful Heart by this award, what we really want to do is give it back to you. This is called the Empowerment Award, and that's exactly what you did for us when we were starting out.

Very few organizations were open in 2004 to hearing about, much less embracing, the approaches Joyful Heart was exploring to help survivors heal mind, body and spirit. So you can just imagine what it meant when POV, with its thirty-eight year history in this field, said to us, 'Yes. We are interested in you. We want to hear more. And we want to stand with you.'

You sent participants on our very first retreat, and you stood with us as we piloted our programs and developed our vision of a community that says to a survivor, 'We hear you. We believe you. And your healing is our priority.'

Mariska At PodiumIn addition to the Empowerment Award, POV presented four other awards during the event, including the Public Service Award to Eric Garcetti, president of the Los Angeles City Council; the Justice Award to Human Rights Watch and U.S. Program Researcher Sarah Tofte; the Activism Award to Keely and Pierce Brosnan; and the Verizon Wireless Hopeline Corporate Award to Union Bank.

Along with the honorees, other distinguished guests spoke at the event, including Connie Rice; Calista Flockhart; Rene Russo; Elva Lima of Verizon Foundation; Tim Wennes of Union Bank; Patti Giggans, executive director of Peace Over Violence; and Melodie Kruspodin, a youth graduate of POV's "In Touch With Teens" programs.

"For the past 38 years, Peace Over Violence has been working to prevent and educate the public on sexual assault and domestic violence," said Patti Giggans, executive director of Peace Over Violence. "The tremendous support for tonight's event shows the ongoing relevance of these issues and the need for more resources and education on teen dating violence and sexual violence prevention."

About Peace Over Violence

Formerly known as the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, Peace Over Violence is a social service agency dedicated to building healthy relationships, families, and communities free from sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence. For more information visit

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