Just as she does on TV, actress Mariska Hargitay (who plays detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), is dedicated to helping survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse heal and reclaim their lives.
I had the honor of attending Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation annual celebration last week. This organization that Mariska started works to heal, educate and empower victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. T
Cleaning the streets of Los Angeles in 1992, which were trashed by a community after the acquittal of police accused of beating Rodney King, provided an epiphany for Maile Zambuto, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a college rape.
It wasn't a personal experience or family history that made Mariska Hargitay aware of victims of sexual assault. It was fan mail. The letters to the actress playing Detective Olivia Benson of "Law and Order: SVU" were not typical fan mail.