Actress Mariska Hargitay, famously known for her role as Detective Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, took the virtual stage Wednesday during the Democratic National Convention to endorse presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
In a segment aimed at addressing domestic violence toward women, the actress was featured in a clip discussing the former vice president’s leadership on violence against women policy — specifically the nationwide backlog of untested rape kits.
Hargitay said she is voting for Biden for not only for her daughter but her son.
You can watch her speech below:
Actress and producer Kerry Washington hosted the third night of the DNC, while the Republican National Convention is set to run from August 24 through August 27.
Here’s what you need to know:
Hargitay is Advocating for a President That Believes a ‘Woman’s Life is Worth Fighting For’
The 56-year-old actress accompanied CEO and President of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Ruth Glenn, as well as sexual assault survivor Carly Dryden, to advocate for Biden and a president that believes a “woman’s life is worth fighting for.”
“When I started doing research to play Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU over 20 years ago,” Hargitay expressed. “I was shocked to find out how many people, including children, experience physical or sexual abuse. The statistics fueled my resolve, and I committed myself to the movement to end this violence.”
Hargitay touched on the Violence Against Women Act, which was written and introduced by Biden in 1990.
The Act “creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking,” according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Passed in 1994, the bill established the first U.S. federal legislation that characterized domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes, the organization continued.
The Act needs to be renewed every five years, each time seeking to modernize its existing programs, the Network said.
Hargitay & her Joyful Heart Foundation Have Worked With Biden for Years
Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004, according to its website.
The national organization seeks to “transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.”
It aims to advance policies and legislation that “ensure access to justice for survivors” among other things.
Since Hargitay met Biden in 2013, the two have worked together to eventually inspire the federal government to create the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) in 2014, People Magazine reported.
The program, via the Justice Department, offers resources to local communities to test backlogged rape kits in police storage facilities, the magazine said.
It also creates “multi-disciplinary teams to investigate and prosecute cases connected to the backlog, and address the need for victim notification and re-engagement with the criminal justice system,” People indicated.
“I created the Joyful Heart Foundation to help survivors heal, and to change the way our society responds to sexual violence,” Hargitay said during the convention.
“The vice president has worked tirelessly by our side to end the backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits. And our work will continue because testing kits not only makes our country safer, but it sends a vital message to survivors that what happened to them matters.”