Law and order: SVU fame Mariska Hargitay shares her sexual assault trauma in a personal essay published by People. The 60-year-old actor shares the trauma and pain she had to endure for a long time after a former male friend raped her in her 30s. Talking about her experience, Hargitay shared how she tried to maintain boundaries with the man before he assaulted her. She described herself as entering freeze mode. Hargitay also revealed that the assault was less sexual; it was more of a dominating nature.
She was unable to overcome the incident for some time, so she initially tried to forget it. She wanted to avoid reality. In 2004, Hargitay founded a group called the Joyful Heart Foundation to help other victims of the same crime. She shared in her essay that the character of Detective Olivia Benson helped her connect with real-life victims and highlighted her efforts to make people aware of sexual assaults.
“I couldn’t process it. I couldn’t believe that it happened. That it could happen. So I cut it out. I removed it from my narrative. I now have so much empathy for the part of me that made that choice because that part got me through it. It never happened. Now I honor that part: I did what I had to do to survive,” the Law & Order franchise star wrote in his personal essay.
Hargitay talked about her denials of being a survivor of sexual assault and used it as a coping mechanism. Being in denial helped her minimize the effect of that assault on her. The actor claimed that she felt empathetic for herself and her decision to cope with the tough times after the incident. The Golden Globe Award winner hopes that her essay will encourage other survivors to raise their voices against the assaults. She says she is optimistic that someday society will openly talk about sexual assault like they talk about cancer.