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Mariska Hargitay Reveals She Was Raped by a Friend, Admits Pretending 'It Never Happened' Helped Her 'Survive'

mariska hargitay friend pretending never happened helped survive
Source: mega

Jan. 10 2024, Published 12:50 p.m. ET

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For years, Mariska Hargitay has aided victims of sexual assault in healing through her Joyful Heart foundation, but all that time, barely anyone knew she was also helping herself.

After staying silent for more than two decades, the actress revealed she was raped in her 30s.

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Source: mega

Mariska Hargitay revealed she was raped by a friend in her 30s.

"It wasn’t sexual at all. It was dominance and control. Overpowering control," she wrote in a recently released article, noting the man in question was a friend.

"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. I didn’t want it to escalate to violence," Hargitay revealed. "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."

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The actress said she pretended the incident 'never happened.'

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The Law & Order: SVU lead, 59, was so shocked by the incident that she couldn't "process" it, so she "cut it out. I removed it from my narrative," she confessed.

"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 Hollywood star stated.

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The star has been on 'Law & Order: SVU' since 1999.

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While launching Joyful Heart helped her "do the work on the inside" and heal, she explained that when she described herself as "not a survivor" in her speeches, she felt she wasn't "being untruthful," as that "wasn’t how" the brunette beauty saw herself.

However, over time, she realized she was a survivor. "Things started shifting in me, and I began talking about it more in earnest with those closest to me," the mother-of-three explained. "They were the first ones to call it what it was. They were gentle and kind and careful, but their naming it was important."

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"Now I’m able to see clearly what was done to me," added Hargitay.

The TV star said "survivors who’ve watched" SVU often tell her the series has "given them strength. But they’re the ones who’ve been a source of strength for me."

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Hargitay married actor Peter Hermann in 2004.

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The Emmy winner said she hopes other survivors become comfortable with discussing their own past, noting every victim deserves justice.

"This is a painful part of my story. The experience was horrible," she acknowledged. "But it doesn’t come close to defining me, in the same way that no other single part of my story defines me. No single part of anyone’s story defines them."

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"I’m turning 60, and I’m so deeply grateful for where I am," Hargitay insisted. "I’m renewed and I’m flooded with compassion for all of us who have suffered. And I’m still proudly in process."

People published Hargitay's words.

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