Celebrities who are sexual abuse survivors

Mariska Hargitay opens up about sexual assault in heartfelt essay

Stars Insider

10/01/24 | StarsInsider

CELEBRITY Breaking news

Over the years, many famous faces have bravely come forward to share their experiences of sexual abuse. It can be triggering, but when a celebrity speaks openly about being assaulted, it can help heal the wounds of others who have gone through similar incidents. Being open about trauma is intrinsic to healing, and proof that you can not only survive, but also thrive.

Mariska Hargitay is proof of this. The seasoned actress decided to share her story with the world in an essay published by People on January 10, 2024. Hargitay, who is about to turn 60, revealed that she was sexually assaulted by someone she thought was a friend in her thirties. "It wasn’t sexual at all. It was dominance and control," she begins. "I tried to make jokes, to be charming, to set a boundary, to reason, to say no." Hargitay shares how she couldn't believe it had happened so she tried to downplay and ignore it. It took her many years to recognize that what had happened to her was rape. She even created an organization, the Joyful Heart Foundation, to support survivors of sexual assault and abuse, but didn't see that she too was a survivor. 

"Then things started shifting in me, and I began talking about it more in earnest with those closest to me. They were the first ones to call it what it was," she recalls. "Then I had my own realization. My own reckoning." Hargitay concludes her essay with a powerful statement about not only bringing an end to the shame felt by survivors, but to the power structures that allow sexual violence to persist. Her final comment is one of hope and strength: "I’m turning 60, and I’m so deeply grateful for where I am. I’m renewed and I’m flooded with compassion for all of us who have suffered. And I’m still proudly in process." Hargitay is best known for playing Olivia Benson in the hit series 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' for over 20 years. 

Click on to see the other inspirational celebrities who've opened up about their experiences with sexual assault. 

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