Mariska Hargitay revealed exclusively to People that she experienced a terrible assault in her 30s.
“It wasn’t sexual at all. It was dominance and control. Overpowering control,” she wrote, in an essay. “He was a friend. Then he wasn’t. 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. I now know it was already sexual violence, but I was afraid he would become physically violent.”
She goes onto explain how she didn’t recognize herself as a victim of sexual assault until she confided in friends.
“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. They were gentle and kind and careful, but their naming it was important.”
Hargitay says that “now I’m able to see clearly what was done to me.”
U.S. residents experiencing similar trauma are encouraged to reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE.