Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Mariska Hargitay joined President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday, as a guest speaker at their Domestic Violence Awareness Month event.
The Law & Order: SVU star, 46, is the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, a community that helps empower victims of assault and abuse. Over the past 18 months, Hargitay has worked with a team to launch a new initiative, End the Backlog, in which she's working with law enforcement and government of officials, non profits, advocates and survivors to bring attention, funding and new legislation to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits across the country.
"The moment I heard about the problem, I knew that it was an issue that we needed to be involved in," the actress told iVillage in September. "Testing rape kits sends a message to victims that their kits matter. Not testing the kits sends the opposite message."
L.A. Dodgers manager Joe Torre was also on-hand to speak with Hargitay at Wednesday's conference, where the baseball legend shared deeply personal stories from his abusive past.
"These are scars that I took from childhood into my adult life," Torre said.
Hargitay and Torre's efforts were all part of President Obama's attempt to urge victims of abuse to get help, lamenting that no victim of domestic violence should ever feel like they don't have a way out of an abusive situation.
"The bottom line is this: Nobody in America should live in fear because they are unsafe in their own home," President Obama said.