"There was no one who didn't have a particular line resonate so deeply that they had to take a moment to gather themselves," Hargitay, who directed the spots and whose Joyful Heart Foundation produced them, told ABC News.
The new series of PSAs, titled "Speechless," which start rolling out today, are comprised of just those moments. The new spots, which are visually spare and use only ambient sound, weren't planned. They were the unexpected --and unscripted -- byproduct of emotions that ran high while shooting previously aired spots in the "No More" campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
But Hargitay said the celebrity campaign had been in the works since she founded Joyful Heart for sexual assault survivors 10 years ago. It was after joining forces with No More that the campaign got momentum.
Once the celebrity PSAs began airing during NFL broadcasts, Hargitay said, "Players started reaching out, wanting to be involved, wanting to speak out. Some came because they had personally experienced violence and abuse, others because they felt moved to take a lead in bringing change. But their lives -- and their souls -- had been touched by these issues."
He told ABC News that he got involved because the issue of domestic violence is "pretty close to my heart." When he was 15, Navarro's mother Connie Navarro was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. John Riccardi spent nearly a decade on the run, until he was finally captured in 1991 after the case was featured on "America’s Most Wanted." He's currently serving life without parole in a California prison.
"It was a horrific relationship that ended in tragedy," Navarro said, adding, "it affected my life greatly."
"I have first-hand knowledge how these types of situations can escalate. The fact is the realm of the impossible is in fact possible, which is why it's important for me to get the word out now," said the 47-year-old rocker, speaking on behalf of Viacommunity, Viacom’s social impact umbrella.
"We are trying to raise awareness so people can get help or even assess their situation," he said. "The denial is so thick that sometimes it's hard to get a grasp of one's self within a conflict. But if someone can see themselves in the campaign, maybe they can reach out for help."
Though Navarro and his fellow celebrities are showing just how hard it is to talk about domestic violence in the new spots, their goal is really to get the conversation started.
"The fact is we are having a conversation," Navarro said. "I wouldn't be talking to you about this experience in my life if not for this."
Added Hargitay, "Most simply put, we want these spots to bring these issues out of the darkness and into the light."