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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 18, 2013/ 7 Nissan, 5773

A TV cop helps victims get a shot at justice

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


JewishWorldReview.com | Mariska Hargitay, better known as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” detective Olivia Benson, is the human intersection of life and art.

Precisely, the line between the fictional role she plays and the role she has carved out in real life is approximately a hair’s breadth. The passion that television viewers witness on the popular crime show — the rage, the disgust, that curled lip, the twitching eye — may be part of the actor’s toolbox, but it’s no act.

Philosophically, at least, Olivia and Mariska (pronounced Marish-ka) are one and the same. This much was clear when Hargitay visited Washington recently to launch her “No More” campaign related to her victims’ advocacy group, the Joyful Heart Foundation (joyfulheartfoundation.org).

“No More” means no more bystanders to crime, no more silence about domestic violence and sexual assault. The motto comes with an icon — a blue doughnut, more or less — that Hargitay hopes will become a unifying symbol as familiar as breast cancer’s pink ribbon.

Hargitay’s transformation from an actor into a powerful voice for victims began about 15 years ago when she began researching the role that would make her a household name.

In the process, she stumbled upon the appalling statistics about sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Especially offensive was the fact that hundreds of thousands of rape kits remained unprocessed.

This meant that hundreds of thousands of victims, mostly women, were never taken seriously or given an opportunity for justice — and their rapists were free to rape again. Why is there no outrage?

Hargitay set about to make her own outrage known, creating her foundation, which advocates for justice and the sort of prosecutorial zeal one wishes weren’t only on TV. Speaking at the National Press Club, she argued an end to the silence that feeds shame and posed the question: “Think how helpful it is to a criminal if we refuse to talk about it?”

A rape kit, as fans of “L&O: SVU” know, is the evidence collected during a medical exam following a rape, including DNA swabs. Typically, it costs $1,200-$1,500 to process a kit; hence, in part, the backlog.

But more to the point, a rape kit takes several hours to collect and is both invasive and humiliating for someone who has endured a violent attack. This alone should be sufficient to dissuade those who assume that many rapes are not “legitimate.” Why, otherwise, would anyone put themselves through such a hideous ordeal?

As Hargitay put it, the rape victim’s body is a living, breathing, feeling crime scene. “After a four-to-six hour invasive exam, you’d think they’d be eager to process.” Instead, old attitudes persist, relegating rape kits to cold storage and awarding rapists free passes.

Hargitay, who became emotional several times during her luncheon talk, conceded that the characters on her show are not typical. The sympathy, empathy, psychological sophistication and compassion displayed toward fictional victims are also mostly fictional.

More often, there is only passing regard for real women alleging rape, some of whom may be perceived (because of behavior or dress) to have been responsible for whatever happened.

In a time of cost-cutting and smaller staffs — not to mention other immediate cases — it is difficult to argue that old rape kits urgently need to be processed. But Hargitay’s persistence has paid off. In Detroit, where 11,000 rape kits have been collecting dust for as long as 20 years, 23 serial rapists have been identified from the recent processing of just 400 kits. Three resulted in convictions, according to Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy.

New York — which has a DNA databank that, thanks to Hargitay’s lobbying efforts, includes samples from anyone convicted of a crime — has cleared its backlog of 17,000 kits. The result: an arrest rate that leaped from 40 percent to 70 percent, according to Hargitay. Similarly, Los Angeles has cleared its 12,669 kits.

There are still tens of thousands to go, but Hargitay has succeeded in demonstrating that one ticked-off cop can make a difference — even if she is only a TV cop. These days, the pretend character is learning from the real-life woman who plays her. Hargitay admitted that what you see on television is often informed by the work of her foundation. The lesson she hopes to convey is as no-nonsense as the lip-curling Olivia Benson: Rape victims are victims, period. And perps will be prosecuted.

But first, America has to say, “no more.”

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