Mariska Hargitay reveals she was sexually assaulted in powerful essay: ‘I checked out of my body’

Warning: This story contains graphic content.

Mariska Hargitay has penned a powerful essay revealing she was sexually assaulted in her thirties.

The actress and Law & Order star, 59, penned the piece for People this week and spoke about the “trauma” she has had to deal with in the years since the horrific incident.

“A man raped me in my thirties,” Hargitay bravely revealed.

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Mariska Hargitay

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Hargitay revealed she was raped by a “friend who made a unilateral decision” and said she wants “this violence to end”.

“He grabbed me by the arms and held me down. I was terrified,” she explained.

“I went into freeze mode, a common trauma response when there is no option to escape. I checked out of my body,” she wrote.

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Mariska Hargitay attends Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour Concert Movie World Premiere at AMC The Grove 14 on October 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

The actress, who is the daughter of the late Jayne Mansfield, said she never thought of herself as a “survivor” and often “minimised” what happened to her when occasionally speaking about it.

She said in recent years, she had her own “reckoning” and now is “able to see clearly what was done to me” after “removing it from her narrative” to “survive”.

She added in her essay that she wants survivors to feel “no shame” about sexual assault and that for her, she wants ”an acknowledgement and apology” after what happened.

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Law & Order star Mariska Hargitay

Hargitay, who is married to actor Peter Hermann, said that despite the traumatic experience, she hasn’t let it “define her”.

The star started her own foundation, the Joyful Heart Foundation, in 2004 to help survivors of sexual assault.

“I am proud to stand with survivors, advocates and members of the criminal justice community to send a powerful message to other survivors: ‘We hear you. You have suffered enough. Your healing – and pursuit of justice – are our priorities,'” a message from Hargitay reads on the website. 

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).