03/11/2014 05:54 pm ET

Did Mariska Hargitay Help Catch A Real-Life Rapist?

It's no news that "Law & Order: SVU" star Mariska Hargitay fights for survivors of sexual assault in real life. The Joyful Heart Foundation, which she founded to help put an end to sexual and domestic violence, has recently helped the city of Detroit obtain funds to process a backlog of nearly 11,000 untested rape kits. On Monday, March 10, Hargitay spoke at a press conference in Detroit to discuss the city's recent initiative and to announce her new documentary on the subject, "Shelved."

On the same day Hargitay spoke, a Detroit judge also sent a serial rapist, who was identified via a backlogged rape kit test, to prison. Although Hargitay wasn't the one to catch and cuff the rapist, her foundation's actions are definitely helping to stop sexual assault criminals.

"Rape kit evidence is probably the most powerful crime-solving tool that we have," Hargitay said at the conference. "Testing rape kits is vital to keeping rapists off the street and yet, hundreds of thousands of these kits don't even make it to the crime labs. They are shelved, sitting there shelved, untested."

"Testing rape kits sends a fundamental and crucial message to victims of sexual violence," she said. "That message is you matter, what happens to you matters, what happened to you matters, your case matters."

Watch Hargitay speak in the video above and just try not to love her with all of your heart, especially when she has to regain her composure, holding back tears -- she's seriously our hero.

[h/t The Cut]



'Law and Order: SVU'