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NBC Insider Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

This Is the Sentence Mariska Hargitay Hears the Most From SVU Fans

"I understood very quickly the power of healing this television show had," she says.

By Jackie Manno
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Mariska Hargitay may play the empathetic character Captain Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but unsurprisingly, the actress and activist is equally as compassionate in real life, as well.

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays on NBC and next day on Peacock.

In fact, Hargitay recently opened up about the emotional conversations she often has with fans of the show. 

“When I started SVU, very quickly I started to receive a different kind of fan letter. Instead of, you know, ‘I love your show; you’re a great actress,’ it was women and men disclosing stories of abuse," she said. "People started sharing and saying, ‘Your show changed my life,’ and ‘I’ve never told anyone [about my abuse].'" 

She continued, "That is the sentence I heard most: ‘I’ve never told anyone.’”

We've come a long way in terms of how our culture discusses sexual violence, and Hargitay hopes that continues to improve. She encourages everyone to have open, honest conversations in order to help affected parties process their stories. “There’s nothing about this to keep secret," she said. "This is something we should all be talking about.”

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has been on the air for 24 seasons, and Hargitay says she realized right away the impact of the series. “I knew very early that this wasn’t a regular TV show," she said. "I understood very quickly the power of healing this television show had.”

To see Benson put her healing nature into action, watch Law & Order: SVU on NBC Thursdays at 9/8c and next day on Peacock.