Mariska Hargitay Refuses to Be Defined by Trauma Stemming From Being Raped in Her 30s
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The 'Law and Order: SUV' star recalls how she 'checked out' of her body during the sexual assault by her own friend, admitting that she downplayed the agony to 'get through' the trauma.

AceShowbiz - Mariska Hargitay has revealed she was raped by a friend while in her 30s. The 59-year-old "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" actress, who built her foundation Joyful Heart to help victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, relived the horror in an essay she wrote for PEOPLE magazine.

She said about the attack, "It wasn't sexual at all. It was dominance and control. Overpowering control. He was a friend. Then he wasn't." She recalled she tried "all the ways" she knew to "get out of" the assault, but couldn't escape as her friend grabbed her by the arms and held her down.

Mariska added, "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. I went into freeze mode, a common trauma response when there is no option to escape. I checked out of my body."

Mariska said she ended up downplaying the agony she felt in the wake of the assault and tried to push it to the back of her mind so she could "get through" the trauma.

She added in her essay she was only now able to "honor" the trauma she felt and what she did in the aftermath to survive.

Mariska went on to tell how her abuse foundation also helped her do the work she needed to come to terms with being raped, adding, "I think I also needed to see what healing could look like. I look back on speeches where I said, 'I'm not a survivor.' I wasn't being untruthful; it wasn't how I thought of myself."

Mariska also admitted she told her actor husband of nearly 20 years Peter Hermann, 56, that what she went through wasn't rape. She concluded her essay by saying, "This is a painful part of my story. The experience was horrible. 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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