The Hollywood star Mariska Hargitay, who has starred on the hit show “Law & Order SVU” for the past 25 years, has sadly revealed that she was raped in her 30s by someone who she thought was her friend.
Hargitay Reveals She Was Raped
Hargitay, 59, revealed this in a powerful essay published by People Magazine.
“It wasn’t sexual at all. It was dominance and control. Overpowering control.” she wrote. “He was a friend. Then he wasn’t. I tried all the ways I knew to get out of it. I tried to make jokes, to be charming, to set a boundary, to reason, to say no.”
“He grabbed me by the arms and held me down. I was terrified,” she continued. “I didn’t want it to escalate to violence. I now know it was already sexual violence, but I was afraid he would become physically violent. I went into freeze mode, a common trauma response when there is no option to escape. I checked out of my body.”
Hargitay then said that she spent years trying to deal with what happened through her work with Joyful Heart, an organization she founded that aims to help survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. She even remembers giving speeches in which she denied being a survivor because “it wasn’t how I thought of myself.”
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Over time, however, Hargitay began to have what she described as a “reckoning” about her rape.
“Now I’m able to see clearly what was done to me. I understand the neurobiology of trauma,” she said. “Trauma fractures our mind and our memory. The way a mirror fractures.”
Hargitay is set to turn 60 later this month, and her goal is to use her platform to bring about change when it comes to dealing with victims of sexual violence.
“I said for a long time that my hope was for people to be able to talk about sexual assault the same way they now talk about cancer,” she stated. “Tell someone you’ve survived cancer, and you’re celebrated. I want the same response for sexual assault survivors. I want no shame with the victim. The shame of the act belongs with the perpetrator: they’re the ones who committed the heinous, shameful act.”
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