Taylor Swift Makes 'Generous' Donation to Joyful Heart Foundation for Survivors of Sexual Assault
Mariska Hargitay's organization is just one of the groups Swift will donate to.
Making good on a promise she made after winning her countersuit against a former Denver DJ who allegedly groped her in 2013, Taylor Swift has donated to an organization for survivors of sexual assault. According to the Huffington Post, the singer made a "generous" pledge to actress Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps those victimized by sexual assault.
“Taylor is aware of the Joyful Heart Foundation and follows our work,” the organization's CEO, Maile Zambuto, told HuffPo. “Her team got in touch with me and we talked a lot about her commitment, all along throughout this ordeal, to wanting to be of service to survivors." HuffPo reportedly confirmed that the Joyful Heart donation is among the first organizations that will receive donations from Swift. Zambuto did not put a figure on the donation, but said it was "an extremely generous financial investment in the movement to end sexual violence."
The funds will go to help three of the foundation's main initiatives: healing programs, educational and advocacy work. Following a judge's ruling on Monday (Aug. 14) that former DJ David Mueller assaulted Swift by grabbing her backside during a backstage meet-and-greet, the singer said she would use the opportunity to help others.
“I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this,” Swift said in a statement. “My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”
Zambuto, a survivor of sexual assault, said it was powerful for someone like Swift to come forward in this way. ″I think it was really important to see someone like Taylor to stand up to her abuser so publicly because there’s so much secrecy and shame associated with sexual assault,” she said. “Taylor had a choice to do this quietly ― to risk less ― and instead, she took this path as a survivor and as a symbol of strength and a source for so many survivors who feel really alone.”
The CEO of the foundation founded in 2004 by actress/director/producer Hargitay in an effort to transform "society's response to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse," said she hopes Swift's donation and advocacy not only "helps empower other victims to speak up and take action, but offers them solidarity... I'm honored by her dedication and commitment to these issues, and I'm deeply grateful for her support of the Joyful Heart Foundation."
The New York Times asked women to share their thoughts about Swift's testimony and the results were a bracing collection of quotes about their experiences with sexual assault and Swift's status as a role model for young women and girls. Read a selection of the quotes below:
“I am grateful for what Taylor Swift did for all victims of sexual assault. She showed in vivid detail how survivors of sexual violence are treated like it was their fault. One of the most chilling statements was that of opposing counsel stating she didn’t act like someone who had been assaulted, implying therefore that it could not have happened.” ASHELEY LEMON
“I told my 13-year-old daughter about this case. And I made sure to quote Swift’s testimony. I wanted her to hear about this case and how a woman can stand up for herself and not be intimidated by an attorney. She was impressed.” DENISE HOWALD HAMILTON
“The trial resonates deeply with me because I was assaulted in March of 2016. I was a freshman in college at the time. I was essentially told by campus police that I was overreacting and that he ‘took advantage of me,’ but that I ‘put myself in a position to be taken advantage of.’ The fact that the people that represented authority at the university blatantly told me that, haunts me.”
“It’s fantastic that she is using her power, her fame, as an example to all women out there. She only asked for a dollar, which emphasizes this. Another example of a strong woman who went to court — Kesha. They are paving the way for more confidence in women to go out and make it known when they are taken advantage of.” ARI DUNN