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Mariska Hargitay

Founder & President, Joyful Heart Foundation

About Mariska Hargitay

As an actress, activist, and advocate, Mariska Hargitay has dedicated her time, talent and resources to be an inspiration and force for change. Putting her passion for healing, education and community involvement to use, Ms. Hargitay works to help not only survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse but other causes she is passionate about. Through her role as Detective Olivia Benson on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit , Ms. Hargitay was awakened to the weight that survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse carry—the weight of shame, pain, fear, darkness, judgment and isolation—and inspired by their courage. Ms. Hargitay has been a part of multiple education and awareness campaigns around these issues for Joyful Heart and other organizations. She has made public service announcements to end the rape kit backlog in the United States, pass critical legislation to bring healing and justice to survivors, prevent child abuse and neglect and engage men to end violence and abuse. She has also filmed PSAs with NBC's "The More You Know" campaigns and Got Milk and has lent her time and voice to other victim assistance organizations in hopes of raising awareness and much needed financial support for their programs. Her dedication to providing assistance to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse survivors speaks to her depth of character and generosity of spirit. Committed to ending violence and abuse and caring for those who have survived it, Ms. Hargitay spends as much time off screen dealing with these crimes as she does while busting perps through her role as Detective Olivia Benson.