Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hartigay has educated people about, among other things, domestic violence throughout the course of her starring role on the show as Det. Olivia Benson — and now she’s crossing over to real life to hammer home the importance of protecting victims.
On SVU, Mariska Hartigay plays the tough Special Victims Unit detective paired for much of the series with foil Det. Eliot Benson, who often was the more hot-headed of the two despite her character’s history as the product of a rape from which her mother never recovered. (In an episode mid-series, Benson’s mother’s character died of a drinking-related accident, compounding Olivia’s guilt.)
The show has definitely been a good platform to educate viewers on domestic violence, but Hartigay is taking it a step further with the new PSA — even though she still sounds a bit Benson-like when she says:
“The shame and stigma belongs with the perpetrator. Let’s not stand by; let’s not accept it anymore. No more.”
Of the No More PSA, Mariska says that awareness like that associated with other causes can help lift the stigma associated with interpersonal relationships that are abusive.
“This is an epidemic that is afflicting our society and I believe that it is an epidemic we can change. For the first time in history, the domestic violence and the sexual assault movements, the two communities, are coming together with this symbol. It’s to this movement what the pink ribbon was to breast cancer, what the red ribbon did for HIV/AIDS; it got people together, under one umbrella, talking about it.”
Watch above as Mariska Hartigay joins SVU co-stars like Christopher Meloni and Ice-T to speak out about domestic violence.