Mariska Hargitay, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star and recipient of the Karma Award from the Karma Automotive company at Variety‘s Power of Women luncheon, gave a powerful speech against sexual assault and domestic violence while accepting the award.
Hargitay, who created the Joyful Heart Foundation to heal, educate and empower survivors of assault and abuse, called sexual assault and domestic violence “the most underfunded, under-regarded and under-researched social issues of our time.”
“Women have and continue to be deemed less valuable than men,” she said.
Hargitay specified that she’s not looking to reduce the occurrence of these issues, but rather to end it.
“It will likely not come in my lifetime, but we are already seeing the seeds that so many before us and we have planted bearing fruit,” she went on. “Things are changing.”
She ended her speech with a call to action, encouraging the audience to avoid the “victim-blaming attitudes that truly pervade our society that survivors often can’t help but internalize.”
“Hear me when I say that you have the power to change somebody’s life. And in more than a few instances, and likely without knowing it, participate in saving it.”
Watch the full speech above.