Full Media Archive

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60 Percent of Americans Know a Survivor of Domestic Abuse or Sexual Assault: No More Excuses
September 24, 2013 • The Huffington Post
By Soraya Chemaly
Sixty percent of Americans know a survivor of domestic violence. One in three women (30 percent), one in seven men (14 percent) report living with intimate violence. read more
9 celebrities who’ve been touched by domestic violence
October 26, 2015 • Everyday Health
By Sara Altshul

Though she hasn’t personally experienced domestic violence, in her iconic role as Detective Olivia Benson on the long-running TV drama, Law & Order: SVU, Mariska Hargitay has lived, breathed — and solved — unspeakable crimes against women and children for the past 16 years. Her role has clearly gotten under her skin. In 2004, she founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization that has served more than 14,000 survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and the professionals who help them.

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A Call to Men: #IWILLSPEAKUP
October 30, 2017 • HuffPost
By Maile M. Zambuto and Ted Bunch

Celebrities, our friends, our sisters, our daughters, and ourselves—are speaking out about sexual assault, abuse, and harassment. From the simple yet powerful #MeToo to women’s detailed personal accounts in news stories and op-eds, this violence is at the forefront of our attention. The volume of the conversation is way up, getting louder, and showing no sign of stopping. It is inescapable.

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A Day in the Crazy Busy and Incredibly Inspiring Life of Mariska Hargitay
April 19th, 2009 • Health Magazine
By Jancee Dunn
Actress Mariska Hargitay shares how she stays energized and happy every day. read more
A disturbing trend: evidence in rape cases often goes untested
August 2016 • Seattle Magazine
By Elaine Porterfield
The backlog of untested rape kits goes back years, and it's hindering the justice process. read more
A flawed, inconsistent police response to sexual assault in Maryland
December 3, 2016 • The Baltimore Sun
By Catherine Rentz and Alison Knezevich

Catherine Becket hadn't forgotten that evening three years ago in her Parkville apartment, though she tried.

Then, as she watched with outrage while Stanford University student Brock Turner served three months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, she resolved to confront her own memories. She called Baltimore County police this summer about reopening her sexual assault case.

But she soon discovered that would be difficult.

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A Joyful Heart Foundation And KIND Visit Safe Horizon's Manhattan Child Advocacy
October 23rd, 2012 • Zimbio
By Zimbio
Actress Mariska Hargitay, Linda Fairstein and Maile Zambuto package healing kits for children currently seeking services at Safe Horizon's Manhattan Child Advocacy Center in support of The Joyful Heart Foundation and KIND Healthy Snacks' Do the KIND Thing program at Safe Horizon's Manhattan Child Advocacy Center on October 22, 2012 in New York City. read more
A Star Fights Abuse in Hawaii
April 3rd, 2012 • MidWeek
By Yu Shing Ting
The Joyful Heart Foundation, created by Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, is taking on child abuse in Hawaii with the One Strong Ohana campaign read more
Actress Hargitay Backs Detroit Rape Kit Project
March 10, 2014 • Associated Press
By Corey Williams
Actress Mariska Hargitay, who portrays a police detective on television, on Monday pledged her support for a real-life crime-fighting effort: quicker testing for a backlog of thousands of rape kits in the Detroit area and across Michigan. read more
Actress Hargitay, Prosecutor Worthy discuss rape kit project
March 10, 2014 • My Fox Detroit
By Associated Press
Actress Mariska Hargitay joined Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy Monday to discuss proposed legislation that would speed up sexual assault kit testing. read more
Actress Mariska Hargitay Joins Kym Worthy In Push For Rape Kit Testing
March 10, 2014 • CBS News
By CBS News
An award-winning actress is joining forces with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in her push for legislation and funding to clear a backlog of 11,000 untested rape kits in Detroit. read more
Actress Mariska Hargitay: Violence Against Women Act Saves Lives (Video)
April 26th, 2012 • The New Civil Rights Movement
By David Badash
Mariska Hargitay, best known for her role on TV’s “Law And Order,” says in this video that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) saves lives, and adds that “restricting it to only some members of our community” defeats its purpose. Hargitay, an Emmy Award winner and daughter of the late actress Jayne Mansfield, is also the founder of and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps women who have been sexually abused. read more
Addressing Abuse
January 11th, 2012 • MidWeek
By Kata Issari
When Mariska Hargitay began playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit more than a decade ago, the content of the scripts opened her eyes to the epidemic of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. read more
Ads Say 'No More' To Domestic Violence, But Will Audience Listen?
Jan. 14, 2015 • NPR
By Maggie Penman
The subtext? No more domestic violence, and no more sexual assault. read more
Advocacy group says Kansas City has 1,324 untested rape kits
May 19, 2015 • KSHB Kansas City
By Lexi Sutter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A national rape victim advocacy group says Kansas City has 1,324 untested rape kits.

The nonprofit Joyful Heart Foundation released information Tuesday about testing backlogs in five cities. It says it hopes the cities will "take aggressive and comprehensive steps toward rape kit reform."

“We do feel that the transparency and accountability around releasing the numbers will pave the way for true reform around rape kit testing,” explained Ilse Knecht, the senior advisor for policy and advocacy for the Joyful Heart Foundation.

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Advocates praise senate bill on sexual assault victims’ rights
may 24, 2016 • The New York Times
By Emmarie Huetteman

WASHINGTON — Advocates for victims of sexual assault on Tuesday praised the Senate’s unanimous approval of a bill that would establish a set of rights for victims, including the right to be informed of the results of forensic tests and to have evidence preserved.

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Adweek's Top 5 Commercials of the Week: Dec. 12-19
Dec. 19, 2014 • Adweek
By David Griner
Apple bridges generations, celebrities fall silent, and Ikea shows what kids really want read more
America's Cold-Case Crisis
February 25th, 2011 • The Daily Beast
By Linda Fairstein
Testing old rape kits could put countless rapists in prison—and exonerate others who were wrongly convicted. Linda Fairstein on the tragedy of letting these truth-tellers collect dust. read more
An Incomprehensible Failure
September 20, 2016 • The Huffington Post
By Sarah Haacke Byrd

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice released its much-anticipated report about policing practices in Baltimore, Maryland. Included in their examination is scathing evidence that victims of sexual assault in the city are denied equal and full access to the law.

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Anthony Edwards Discloses His Own Sexual Assault Story
November 10, 2017 • UPROXX
By Dan Seitz

Anthony Edwards, best known for his work on ER and in Top Gun, has been working to discuss male victims of sexual assault for a long time, working with groups like Joyful Heart to raise awareness that sexual assault is a problem for everyone. Edwards recently took to Medium, however, to lay bare the personal impetus behind this: That he’s a survivor of sexual assault as well.

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Assault survivors have waited too long
March 4, 2017 • Albuquerque Journal
By Jayann Sepich and Ilse Knecht

Every year, thousands of individuals who have been sexually assaulted take the step of reporting the crime to the police. They submit to an examination of their body and have evidence collected in a process that typically takes four to six hours. The evidence is saved in a “Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit” – a rape kit.

DNA evidence is an invaluable investigative tool. When tested, communities can identify serial perpetrators, take dangerous offenders off the streets, exonerate the innocent and prevent future crimes.

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At Last! A National PSA Campaign to End Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
September 24, 2013 • The Huffington Post
By Anna Kegler
After writing almost a year ago about the need for a major public campaign around sexual violence prevention, I was overjoyed to hear that the Joyful Heart Foundation (headed by Mariska Hargitay of SVU fame) and No More were joining forces to create a nationwide PSA campaign to address domestic violence and sexual assault. read more
Attorney General's report calls for statewide standards on rape kits
January 3, 2017 • The Baltimore Sun
By Alison Knezevich

Police in Maryland should test nearly all rape kits, notify victims of the results and store the kits for a fixed period of time, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said.

A report issued to lawmakers by Frosh's office Tuesday said a lack of statewide guidelines on when to test rape kits and how long to keep them has resulted in police departments adopting inconsistent policies. Some keep the kits indefinitely, but others throw them out.

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Awaiting Assembly Action State Senate Passes DNA Databank Expansion; Sheriff Gerace Calls Bill A ‘No-Brainer’
March 11th, 2012 • The Post-Journal
By Andrew Carr
The New York State Assembly is on deck to approve the state's DNA Databank Expansion Bill. Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the expansion of the bill to include all misdemeanor convictions. read more
Be Fearless, Men
June 6th, 2012 • Cool People Care
By Sam Davidson
Joyful Heart Foundation wants to engage men, in the spirit of Father’s Day, as crucial participants and survivors themselves in the effort to address, prevent, and one day end sexual violence, domestic violence, and child abuse. That’s why the non-profit organization teamed up with leading jeweler Me&Ro to offer the “FEARLESSNESS” tube bracelet for men. read more

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