Joyful Heart Foundation is an organization aimed to heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse; and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. JHF focuses on healing and wellness, education and awareness, and policy and advocacy. In ten years they have raised over $15 million to help 14,000 individuals, and have provided 73,000 hours of interaction. Not only has Joyful Heart banded together with No More, but with End the Backlog as well, which pushes to test and rid the nation’s backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits. Testing these vital pieces of evidence, that took 4 to 6 hours collect off traumatized survivors, could put violent attackers away, not to mention prevent countless numbers of serial rapes. But on a positive note, that’s what Joyful Heart aims to do; shed light, spread togetherness, provide hope, feel joy.
No More is a unifying symbol designed to galvanize awareness and ultimately end domestic violence and sexual assault. Together. Every major domestic violence and sexual assault organization is behind No More such as, A Call To Men, Men Can Stop Rape, Future Without Violence, and more. No More urges you to join them and take the pledge, pledge to say “no more.” Not only to DV and SA, but saying no more to by-standing; no more excuses, no more silence. They have produced a handful of PSAs that have been adopted by Viacom to be shared on many major networks. Learn about the issues, start the conversation, speak out.
Good Lord, Mariska inspires me because she inspires so many others. She didn’t have to emerge herself in these issues. She was an actress. An actress who got a good gig with Dick Wolf. She was an actress, but she took it upon her self to be an advocate; a hero. In the beginning of her career with SVU, she started getting letters, not fan letters, but survivors pouring their hearts and secrets to her, an actress. An actress! She could have looked at them, sent an autographed picture in return, and went on her merry way. But she read them, felt them, cried over them, provided support; support that wasn’t provided from anyone else. She started a foundation. She trained as a rape crisis counselor! She embodied everything that her fictional character was, she became Detective Olivia Benson and more. She was not required to do any of this, but she did it anyway, because her heart felt it was right. That’s why she inspires me.
And as crazy as it sounds, that’s why I feel connected to her. So many of her supporters are survivors, which is exceptionally amazing. Hopeful and fills me with such pride. Extraordinary and I feel so so proud! And then there’s me. I am infatuated with providing and supporting and spreading awareness. I feel a duty to talk about it because so many others don’t. Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted. One in six are raped. Why aren’t we talking about this? And when we are talking about it, why are we placing blame on the victim, making excuses for the abusers? It’s unfathomable. We need to talk about this. We need to be aware. We need to support each other. I do it because my heart feels it’s right.