Mariska Hargitay: Joyful Heart Foundation Saves the Lives of Real Survivors

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Celebrities can expect to receive fan mail from their fans, often times flowing with adoration. While this occurrence is far from rare for Mariska Hargitay, TV actress and now sexual assault advocate, to her surprise she was continuously receiving fan mail from people who were real-life survivors who had seen her on ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’. It was because of these compelling letters that Mariska found the drive to start and create the amazing anti-sexual assault organization known as Joyful Heart Foundation. Thanks to Mariska’s role on ‘SVU’ she has managed to help and save real lives as she inspires the world with her talent.

“Mariska Hargitay represents SURVIVOR STRENGTH to me. She is an intelligent, strong, and determined woman. Many of the challenges a survivor may encounter before, during and after abusive trauma have been woven into the powerful series Law and Order: SVU, where she carries the lead role of police detective Olivia Benson. Mariska Hargitay contributes amazingly to the show and raises awareness in society about the mountains we survivors must overcome to arrive at the possibility of more than just existence. What a tremendous role model Mariska Hargitay is to me, on and off the screen.”Ginger Getthelidoff

When Mariska Hargitay founded Joyful Heart Foundation she never expected it to successfully reach out to survivors in the amazing way it has, nor create a remarkable trend in the advocacy and social media world of today. Joyful Heart Foundation’s great success through its passion and hard work in regards to helping survivors has given Mariska a joyful heart.

“Joyful Heart was there for me when no one else was. The foundation was my only source of comfort during a very dark and lonely time. Because of their influence and support, I am now a victim’s advocate, and a hotline volunteer.”Grace Necessary

For a survivor in a time of need and in search of a place to find hope and encouragement there is the Joyful Heart Foundation. The foundation’s ongoing dedication to helping survivors find their own road of healing is widely recognized and has created survivors from around the world. It is because of the Joyful Heart Foundation, as well as Mariska’s strong devotion to the cause and the consistent ongoing encouragement that survivors have been inspired to share their own stories.

“The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is 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.” – Joyful Heart Foundation

As survivors attempt to reach out for help and try to embrace their inner-self while trying to regain back control of their life, the Joyful Heart Foundation takes pride as they witness victims’ blossom into survivors. Thanks to the amazing resources and support that the Joyful Heart Foundation provides to sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, the process of taking the first steps to healing and self-care is considerably easier for those that are still struggling. The Joyful Heart Foundation is there to help give survivors the chance to heal and to educate them into self-care as a way to reassure them in their journey.

“The way Joyful Heart has helped me is that it gave me my voice back. The JHF was the first place I went to find help. There I met survivors who helped me share my story with them and since then I have been able to share my story many more times and it gets easier every time I do.”Tara Laracuente

Finding your voice and having the empowerment to use it in a moving way is a true gift in itself. While others continue to struggle with finding their own healing path, those survivors who have found their voice thanks to Joyful Heart have been able to move on and pay it forward, which has led them to inspire and spread joy to other survivor’s hearts.

“Mariska has influenced me in more ways than one. The joy Mariska receives after helping someone heal & after helping someone begin again after suffering a horrifying ordeal is just so beautiful & that’s what I want to do.” – Adraa Maryy

As a survivor, to have a place where you can find the right resources to seek help is essential, but to have the right place (for you) is vital. Thanks to an organization like Joyful Heart Foundation, many survivors have been able to find the right help and have successfully started their own journey of healing.

“The people involved in making the Joyful Heart Foundation prosper are a main source of inspiration. They go to all lengths to make sure no one’s voice goes unheard. I’ve met many great people because they have the same desire as I do and that’s to help and encourage survivors; and it’s all stemmed from what the foundation stands for which is shedding light into darkened areas that people aren’t comfortable talking about.”Nikki Skipper

Whether you live far away or in a local community, Joyful Heart is always there to help those survivors in their time of need. To many survivors, having an organization like Joyful Heart (where they focus on encouraging survivors and reassuring them that they deserve to live a happy life), not only gives them the drive to inspire others with their survivor story, but can also ease their mind and make them feel worthy again. To make such an impact on a survivor’s life in a positive and influential way is certainly impressive. The ability to do this makes The Joyful Heart Foundation more than just a foundation with joyful hearts, but a community of phenomenal people who continue to inspire the world with their bravery and courage.

“Joyful Heart has inspired me in so many ways. This organization was founded during a time when I was in one of my darkest moments of life. Since then I have really leaned on the wisdom of the foundation as guidance on how to reclaim joy in my life. I can say without a doubt, I would not be the person I am told without the inspiration and guidance from this foundation. Since they helped me so very much on my healing journey, I give them my full support in hopes that they will do the same for many others.”Stephanie Chard

Since 2004, when Mariska founded Joyful Heart Foundation, survivors have come together in creative ways to show their appreciation. Not only has this amazing organization given survivors the chance to rejoice and get their voice back but it has also given them the confidence to share their joyful souls to those survivors without a voice. Much gratitude goes out to all those survivors that have chosen to share their survivor story as it takes tremendous courage and bravery to do so. Those that have shared their story thanks to the Joyful Heart Foundation’s encouragement have not just given those survivors without a voice the support they need, but also a reason to be a survivor, not a victim.

“They have shown me how important our voices are in ending sexual violence & I will raise my voice to help others. JHF is vital in the fight against sexual violence and an inspiration to survivors, they show us we are not alone.”Vicky Ann Smith


“Joyful Heart is not a crisis center and does not provide emergency services including: crisis intervention, counseling, housing, legal or financial assistance. We are able, however, to connect you to information and resources where these services are available. We encourage you to take the next step and contact the appropriate resource.”

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact:

National Domestic Violence Hotline at
1 (800) 799-7233 /

or Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network at
1 (800) 656-4673 /

or National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at
1 (866) 331-9474 /

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

Fran Drescher: Survivor Transformed Into Inspirational Hero

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Whether one is a world famous celebrity or just an ordinary person who lives in a small town, many people in the world go through tragic events or traumas at some point in their lives. However, as a celebrity, making the decision to publicly share your story, is not an easy. To speak out about being a survivor of rape and beating cancer, shows just how phenomenally strong Hollywood actress and now advocate ‘Fran Drescher’ really is.

“She had been through what most women fear will happen to them. She was able to survive this in the spotlight, and I feel that anyone who listens to her story will realize that you can either be a victim, or you can be a survivor. Fran is a survivor on so many levels.”Karen Loney

Just when we thought Fran’s voice couldn’t get any louder than when we used to hear it on her 90’s TV sitcom ‘The Nanny’ playing the role of Fran Fine, it did! With confidence, Fran shares publicly about being a survivor of rape at gunpoint and a uterine cancer survivor. One thing is for certain, her voice can be heard with an incredible but very positive impact. Thanks to her enormous courage and her amazing advocacy work for survivors through her movement ‘Cancer Schmancer’, Fran has not only become an inspiration to survivors (of both sexual assault and cancer) but she has now been recognized by her supporters as their hero.

“Being a cancer and rape survivor, Fran is an advocate because she has been in these situations and experienced them firsthand! She can help other people through what she has learned by being in those situations. It is definitely important for her story to be heard because it shows many things: bad things do happen to good people, not all celebrities have perfect lives, and there ARE bad people and things out there. She is my hero!”Natalie Jackson

Since starting her successful movement ‘Cancer Schmancer’ in July 2007, survivors from around the world have been amazed by the extent of its reach.‘Cancer Schmancer’ is a cancer-focused movement, but it is the empowering encouragement Fran gives through this movement that has shown not only cancer fighters and survivors a path to healing, but even sexual assault survivors are encouraged to begin their own healing journey to get the right help.

“Fran has inspired me because she is a very strong cancer survivor. My sister just found out she has cancer. She had her first chemo last Wednesday. I know Fran is a survivor & I know my sister can survive.”Terry Chapman

Fran’s movement ‘Cancer Schmancer’ offers positive encouragement to all survivors. Because of her incredible dedication to the cause, sexual assault survivors have been able to incorporate this insightful vision into their own path of healing. They have been able to find their own voice, their own confidence to stand up for what they believe in, to fight back, gain control and no longer be a victim but a victor.

“She’s very inspiring by helping women fight cancer while having a positive attitude about it at the same time and raising awareness for it.” Alicia Vanatta

By standing tall and showing the world how strong she truly is, Fran has been able to give other survivors (of both sexual assault and cancer) the confidence to follow her lead and take the first steps toward healing and recovery. With Fran’s positive energy and determination to help others and beat the obstacles that come their way, she has not only become a ‘voice’ for those survivors that are still in silence or who are in deep denial, but she has also become someone that can give them the hope to fight back.

“I think it’s important that her story be heard because others who are victims can have a voice and relate to what she has been through.”John Marchant

As a survivor, every persons journey is different. The process of healing and recovery is different as well, so no two journeys will be the same. Being a survivor does not make you any less normal than anyone else. As a survivor there are probably many days in your life where you feel like the world is on your shoulders but Fran‘s positive energy can chase that negativity away.

“I keep several episodes of ‘The Nanny’ recorded on my DVR. I call them my ‘happy therapy’. No matter how bad my day may have been, all I need is a little Fran to make me laugh. Knowing that she was struggling at the time of filming but still had the strength and motivation to survive also gives me the drive to push forward no matter the circumstances.”Patti Egan

It took Fran many years to recover and finally be able to publicly share her sexual assault encounter. When she did, it was a very touching moment in the lives of those who knew and supported her during that period of time, because it was at that moment that they understood why Fran was who she was, and how she became the amazing and inspirational person she is today.

“Because of her speaking out, I don’t feel so alone, so frightened of sleeping at night. I will get past this as it’s thanks to Fran Drescher so I “will” SURVIVE!”Gwen Wallace

Whether they are sexual assault survivors or those who have fought (and are fighting) cancer, Fran has been able to spread light onto those survivors who are in need of a little guidance. She has such an amazing quality about her because no matter what happens; good or bad, she always has something to say that makes her supporters smile. She will keep on fighting until she physically can’t fight anymore because she is Fran Drescher; a courageous survivor and an inspirational hero to us all!

“My whole life has been about changing negatives into positives. I got famous, then I got cancer, and now I live to talk about it. Sometimes the best gifts come in the ugliest packages.” – Fran Drescher


Cancer Survivors: To ‘lock elbows’ with Fran Drescher then join the Cancer Schmancer Movement so together we can do what needs to be done, so less of us will die prematurely.

Sexual Assault Survivors: “If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, it’s never too late to get help. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected to your sexual assault service provider, or visit to chat one-on-one with a RAINN staff member. You are not alone.” – RAINN


Written by Natasha Hagan   Contact:

Edited by Patti Egan

KaDee Strickland: From Sexual Assault Advocate to Inspirational Hero – Part Two

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Coming from a big family, the bond KaDee Strickland created with her family members in her early years has left a mark in the hearts of each and everyone of them, which appears to have helped her in the way she cares and helps other today. Due to KaDee’s constant advocacy and continuous outreach to help others, the bond she created with the people back in Pierce County continues to strengthen. What specifically makes KaDee stand out is the way she graciously helps others without expecting acknowledgement. This is exactly what makes KaDee a ‘stand-out’ celebrity in the eyes of her supporters and as she becomes better known in Hollywood for being recognized as an advocate.

“KaDee Strickland is a truth teller. She simultaneously has the ability to see a spherical perspective, and the power to zoom in and focus on what needs to be accomplished. Intuition is her guide and intention is her fuel. KaDee operates from her heart and always does what it tells her without insecurity or second-guesses. I’ve seen her stand up and help others in their time of need, no matter the circumstance, without judgment or hesitation. I’ve had the honor of being friends with KaDee for over 10 years. Her heart is incredibly open and special. Her choices and actions are powerful and radiate widely.”Tara Stiles, close friend

Fellow RAINN advocates and close friends could not be any more proud of KaDee as they watch her advocacy work continue to rise to great new heights. Not only has she made everyone extremely proud with her recent accomplishments, but also she has inspired them to follow in her footsteps as she continues to touch the lives of many sexual assault survivors through her advocacy work. With all of the advocacy work that KaDee continues to be an integral part of, she is making those around her feel enlightened by the positive aura she exudes. In fact, not only has KaDee made an incredible impression to the public, but also to other Sexual Assault advocate icons such as WWE Pro Wrestler, ‘Mick Foley’ who is more than just impressed with KaDee’s work.

I was impressed from the start with KaDee’s dedication to her role. She spoke to me at length on the phone about my experiences as a RAINN online hotline volunteer, and I know she spoke to a number of volunteers and survivors. But dedication to a role is one thing. Dedication to a cause is another. I don’t think any of us expected KaDee to become such a powerful advocate for RAINN and the cause of ending sexual violence once her storyline with the subject had ended. Her dedication to the cause and her willingness to learn, and spend countless hours of her own time bringing about change has been truly inspirational. KaDee is far more than one of my favorite performers; she’s one of my heroes.” – Mick Foley, RAINN Advocate and close friend.

As KaDee’s light continues to shine through all she does, there is never a day that goes by without those that she is involved with (like RAINN) who are unbelievably appreciative for her kind heart and warm gratitude. From sharing inspirational quotes on social media, like twitter, to publishing informational statistics for sexual assault survivors, RAINN’s gratitude is certainly well received and is truly appreciated. Thanks to KaDee and all those who were deeply involved with the ABC Drama (now cancelled) ‘Private Practice’ and the multi-episode Rape Storyline, it gave sexual assault survivors something to relate to. The episode’s positive reception demonstrated the effectiveness of the portrayal and it’s effect. In fact, it also gave sexual assault survivors the encouragement to reach out and get help via RAINN’s hotline. It is because of this very reason that everyone is reminded of just how amazing of a person KaDee truly is.

The work of Shonda, KaDee, and the entire cast and crew of Private Practice has inspired literally thousands of survivors to take the first step towards recovery through RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotlines. After this episode aired, RAINN heard from many survivors that Strickland’s portrayal was the most true-to-life that they had ever seen. I am honored to be among those who helped make that happen.” – Scott Berkowitz (RAINN co-founder) via RAINN’s website

With being awarded one of Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.’s honorable ‘PRISM’ Awards in 2011, KaDee’s outstanding efforts as a humanitarian was fully acknowledged. KaDee deserves all the high praises that have come her way in regards to her support of sexual assault survivors. To be recognized with a PRISM Award with such high regard and support from other people in the entertainment industry truly shows how much of a difference KaDee has made. Through her continuous work in the entertainment industry and her efforts with helping RAINN, KaDee is giving survivors the hope and the encouragement they need to feel safe about coming forward. The thousands of people KaDee has reached thanks to her role playing Charlotte King on ‘Private Practice’ with the Rape Storyline is beyond amazing and to see the response of sexual assault and rape survivor’s coming forward because of her work is incredible.

KaDee Strickland’s work last season on “Private Practice” was nothing short of amazing. In fact, I dare say that those lucky enough to have seen her performance in the story arc about her character Charlotte’s brutal assault and slow emotional and physical recovery had the opportunity to see the exact moment that Strickland went from just another TV series regular to being a major TV star.” – Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (The company that gives out the PRISM Awards)

Many sexual assault survivors have moments in their healing journey of feeling lonely and helpless but thanks to having encouragement by KaDee, they now have the reassurance to keep fighting for their own healing. Healing is a process and does not happen suddenly overnight, but by having someone like KaDee who continues to share positive and influential information on twitter to her followers, the process becomes one step easier and gives those survivors without a voice the chance to be heard and potentially reach out for help.

KaDee has shown me that I am not alone in my journey and that I shouldn’t let the rapist control me for the rest of my life. She also inspired me by saying that it’s okay to talk about my story and it’s okay to have the emotions that a survivor has to go through. Her advocacy work has helped survivors in general tremendously. She has shown society that the person to blame for rape lays not with the victim but with the rapist. This is important because the victim needs a support system and the last thing they need is to feel blamed. No means no! It shouldn’t be well she asked for it because she drank too much alcohol or she wore those tight clothes. If she/he said no then that’s final and I think KaDee has helped show society this. KaDee also helped voices be heard!” – Kendra Ely, Sexual Assault Survivor

Whether her advocacy work is portrayed though a powerful medium such as television, or can be seen on social media, KaDee’s voice is certainly proving that her good intentions are clearly speaking louder than words. With everything she has been doing to make a difference in the lives of those sexual assault survivors who are in need of support, shows the kind of person KaDee truly is. As each year passes, KaDee’s positive influence in society is being more recognized. Her heroic passion to make a difference will always be known and will always continue to flourish in the advocacy world.

As a TV writer, it is always an honor to cover TV that matters, and the work of talented actors/actresses like KaDee Strickland who are openly dedicated to making a difference in the work that they deliver. We need more strong voices like KaDee’s, speaking out and taking a bold and brave stand against such a violent, horrific crime, like rape and sexual assault. Above all, Charlotte’s rape storyline sent a huge, important message that sexual assault survivors are never alone. There is always help. There is always hope.” – Lori Melton, The Examiner TV Writer


If you have been sexually assaulted or/and raped and would like to talk to someone about it, then please ring RAINN on 800 656 HOPE or go on their 24/7 online hotline at anytime:

To make a donation in honor of KaDee Strickland‘s efforts with RAINN, please go to:


Special Thanks to:

Tara Stiles

Mick Foley

Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.

Kendra Ely

Lori Melton



On behalf of everyone from TeamStrick we also would like to say a big thank you to KaDee Strickland for her phenomenal efforts with encouraging survivors to come forward and get help. We truly appreciate what you have been doing and we feel honored to have your support!


Written by Natasha Hagan

Edited by Shannon Marie


To read Part One please go to: