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October 6, 2015

The Women of 'Law & Order: SVU' Speak Out

by Mariska Hargitay, posted Nov 11th 2010 11:00PM
Christine Lahit, Mariska Hargitay[Editor's note: 'Law & Order: SVU' has never been a show to shy away from touchy subjects. In the Nov. 17 episode, 'Gray,' Detectives Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) meet a young woman who claims to have been the victim of date rape by her classmate. The case becomes muddled when its revealed that the two had been drinking and partying the night of the alleged rape.

The women of 'Law & Order: SVU' -- Mariska Hargitay, Christine Lahti (ADA Sonya Paxton) and Allison Siko (Kathleen Stabler) -- spoke out about rape, the staggering statistics and what needs to be done about these crimes. Without further ado, Mariska Hargitay ...]

This episode is one that is very close to my heart. Given that rape is the most common violent crime on campuses, it is likely that someone you know and love was a victim of sexual violence during college. Its true for me -- people I care deeply about were raped in college. So many of the letters I receive from fans are from women who were raped in college. In fact, we know that one out of four female students will be sexually assaulted before she graduates.

This episode captures the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses, and highlights the obstacles for survivors who wish to find justice and healing. Most campus sexual assaults occur between individuals who know one another, and often involve alcohol. This can make investigations into the crime difficult, and this episode presents arguments about how to determine whether an individual who is drunk is able to consent to sex.

The bottom line is that when a victim severely impaired by alcohol, there is no ability to consent to sex.

Campus rape is so prevalent in part because it is so easy for the perpetrators to get away with it. Many campus sexual assaults are resolved through college disciplinary systems, and they are often an inadequate and dissatisfactory alternative to the criminal justice system that provide neither justice nor healing for the survivor.

We can do more to address and reduce campus rape, and college leaders can do their part by shining light into the darkness of sexual violence on their campuses. That makes this episode so important, and is why it will resonate with so many people.

(For even more from Mariska Hargitay, check out this interview)

Christine Lahti opens up about her fight to end violence against women

Recent college graduate Allison Siko reflects on the issue

If you or somebody you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is out there. National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) and online RAINN.org. It's free and confidential, 24/7.

Other RAINN resources:
How to get involved in the fight against sexual violence.
Volunteering information.
Getting involved on college campuses.
Where to donate to RAINN.

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Mariska and Chris are my favorite people on TV, I ca understand thay want more time off, but I will be unhappy not seeing them each week. They are the best and I hope we can see them for a long time to come. Good Luck to both Mariska and Chris.

May 16 2011 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A Concerned parent

Disappointed. they couldn't catch the guy in the episode for rape so they concocted a death. Confirms what we all know -- there are no convictions for campus rape.

November 17 2010 at 10:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A Concerned parent

Most college campuses have zero tolerance for cheating but not for rape. read how the University of Virginia turns a blind eye to this crime: www.uvavictimsofrape.com

November 17 2010 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Domitrz

In this video, discover the danger of SVU referring to "Grey Rape" in this Wednesday's episode:

November 16 2010 at 8:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Domitrz

Our video response to this story can be seen at:

November 15 2010 at 9:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike Domitrz's comment
Mike Domitrz

The link has been corrected. You can now find the video at:

November 16 2010 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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