On May 20, 2010, Mariska testified before the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on the backlog of untested rape kits in this country. The day before her testimony, she had the opportunity-and great honor-to meet with United States Attorney General, Eric Holder. In this 15th Anniversary year of the Violence Against Women Act, Mariska thanked Mr. Holder for the work he has done to combat violence against women and elevate the national conversation about the issue. The Associate Attorney General, Thomas J. Perelli, also attended the meeting, as did Joyful Heart Executive Director Maile Zambuto, Melissa Schwartz, the U.S. Department of Justice Public Affairs Specialist, and Peter Hermann, Mariska's husband and a Joyful Heart Board Member.
Mariska described meeting Mr. Holder as a "huge thrill", and said the Attorney General's steadfastness on issues of violence against women inspired her to deepen her commitment to Joyful Heart's mission. She also pointed out how moving it was to meet with Mr. Holder during VAWA's anniversary year.
Written by then-Senator, now Vice President Joseph Biden, VAWA revolutionized the way violent crimes against women are prosecuted and prevented, and, as President Obama noted in his proclamation marking the anniversary, represented the first "comprehensive response to this problem on the national level."
Read more about the anniversary of VAWA.
Read about the hearing here.
While in Washington, Mariska also hosted the premiere of "Telling Amy's Story," a documentary addressing the issue of domestic violence.
Read about the premier of "Telling Amy's Story" here.
Read about Joyful Heart's partnership role in "Telling Amy's Story" here.
Joyful Heart continues to seek out opportunities to work collaboratively on cultivating a bold dialogue about the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse in communities large and small.