Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

SVU's Mariska Hargitay helps catch actual rapists

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It's one thing for Mariska Hargitay to catch fictional rapists in her role as Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU. But Hargitay is taking things a step further with her work to help law enforcement catch real-life rapists.

At a press conference in Detroit today, Hargitay spoke on the problem of untested rape kits, an issue about which she is also producing a documentary. During the conference, Hargitay voiced her support for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's push for legislation to clear Detroit's backlog of untested rape kits.

"To me, this is the clearest and most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes," Hargitay said. "One would assume that if someone endures a four- to six-hour invasive examination, that that evidence would be handled with care."

In 2004, Hargitay also founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, which provides support to victims of sexual crimes. Here's to hoping her star power will help Worthy's office gain the resources it needs to test the backlogged kits.

Watch Hargitay's moving, tear-filled speech below. --Meghan DeMaria