Updated: Jul 16, 2020

Sheeeeeeee’s back! Mariska Hargitay breathes life into Oliva Benson once again, as she returns to Law & Order SVU’s historic 21st season on September 26th, 10/9 on NBC.

It was on September 20, 1999 when creator Dick Wolf’s primetime police procedural drama, Law & Order Special Victims Unit, aired on NBC and baby Benson was born.

At that time no one had any idea on the impact that Mariska Hargitay would bring to the role. As the season progressed each week Hargitay’s character, Detective Olivia Benson struck a chord with many viewers. Her compassion for sexual assault survivors, gave many the courage to confide in a fictional character and soon letters were flooding in, from women and men around the country, sharing their own story.

Watch Law & Order Special Victims Unit Season 21 Promo

We’ve heard it for the past twenty years; THESE ARE THEIR STORIES and while Hargitay was learning her lines for the upcoming season the words, THESE ARE THEIR STORIES, kept haunting Hargitay.

In 2004, a superhero was born, when Hargitay opened the doors to the Joyful Heart Foundation in Kona, Hawaii. The foundation provides support to the women and men who have been sexually assaulted.

As fans of the show from day one, when I AM EVIDENCE, an HBO documentary produced by Hargitay, directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir, was in the lineup at the Provincetown’s Film Festival, we made it our mission to support her, like she’s done for so many.

I AM EVIDENCE tells the story of four survivors whose rape kits went untested for years, following them as they navigate their way through the criminal justice system and learn that so often, the system is broken.

We sat in silence with the rest of the audience and by the end, we were all deeply moved by these four courageous women who shared their incredibly personal and heartbreaking stories. Marking up a win for the HBO’s Audience Award. Baby Benson was all grown up and living in Hargitay.

Over years we’ve had the honor of meeting Hargitay at an I AM EVIDENCE screening in NY and the HBO headquarters in NY for the Premier of IAE. She is one of the most authentic people you will ever meet. As her powerful voice echoed into the mic, she introduced each survivor to the standing audience, tears of profound admiration and joy streamed down her face as they each received their duly deserved recognition. It’s a moment we’ll never forget!

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