Mariska Hargitay: No More Violence & Sexual Assault

Have you heard about the No More campaign?

Dozens of celebrities – including Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Courteney Cox, Debra Messing, Peter Hermann, Amy Poehler and Ice T – are speaking out in a new PSA which urges the public to make domestic violence and sexual assault a priority.

The statistics are staggering.

  • One in three women (30%) report being a victim of domestic violence; one in five women (20%) report being a victim of sexual assault.
  • 60% of Americans, 15 years of age or older, know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. Among the 70% of women who have experienced domestic violence and told someone about it, more than half (58%) said that no one helped them.
  • Three out of four (73%) parents with children under the age of 18 said that they have not had a conversation about violence in the home.
  • Three quarters of Americans (75%) say they would step in and help if they saw even a stranger being abused, but almost two thirds (64%) of Americans age 15 or older say if we talk more about domestic violence and sexual assault, it would make it easier to help someone.

More information on the NO MORE Study, commissioned by the AVON Foundation for Women, can be found at

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay opens up to HerScoop about the important new campaign.

Born to ’50s screen legend Jayne Mansfield and former Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay, the mom-of-three children – sons August, 7, and Andrew, 2, and 2-year-old daughter Amaya – explains how her popular TV show inspired her to get involved. Mariska goes on to talk about society’s stereotypes of survivors of sexual abuse.

“Society continues to misplace shame and blame on survivors,” Mariska shares with HerScoop. “That has to end.”

“What we saw during the filming, brave and strong and authentic person after person, was people standing up for each other, for the people they love, for their partners, wives, husbands, children, friends, mothers and fathers, for people they’ve never met, for themselves,” she adds. “I was just moved beyond words. NO MORE fills me with confidence and renewed determination.”

As it turns out, Mariska’s role as Detective Olivia Benson on the NBC drama has not only earned her multiple awards and nominations, it has also educated her on the prevalence of sexual abuse.

“When I first did research for my role on SVU, I couldn’t believe the stats I was finding,” Mariska shares. “Then the letters started coming to me from viewers. First a few, then more, then hundreds, and thousands since then.”

She adds: “The women and men writing the letters didn’t ask for an autograph or a headshot. They disclosed their stories of abuse. And a majority of them included some version of the phrase. I held in my hands the stories behind the statistics that I had just learned. And they made such an impression on me.”

“So I educated myself about these issues,” Mariska continues. “I trained to become a rape crisis advocate, I joined Boards, I got involved. People ask me all the time – do these cases ever get to you? How do you deal with being immersed in these issues 24/7?”

The mom-of-three goes on to talk about the importance of educational television.

“I was so proud to be on a show that was brave enough to go into a territory that no one was talking about,” Mariska says. “I obviously had my role to play on television, but I also knew that I wanted to do more and play a larger role to help survivors heal and reclaim their lives.”

The actress decided to do something with her new-found knowledge and experience.

“Joyful Heart was my answer,” Mariska shares. “In 2004, I started the Joyful Heart Foundation. I am so proud that we have raised more than 14 million dollars in private funds and directly served over 13,000 survivors and the professionals who care for them. We have connected with over one million individuals through education and awareness initiatives; and have championed critical legislation and policy reforms to pursue justice for survivors.”

As a mother, this cause is very close to her heart.

“We carry this so that future generations’ load will be lighter, so that this movement to change the world will be less of a burden,” she adds. “So that instead of having to start a conversation about these issues within their communities, they can join one that is already going on.”

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