Jada Pinkett Smith spoke up against date rape and sexual assault following a family member's incident. During FOX's TCA panel for the upcoming "Gotham" series in Los Angeles, the actress opened up about her niece's close call with date rape after the girl was drugged.
The timeframe of her niece's ordeal took place while #justiceforjada was trending on Twitter in early July. The hashtag was a reaction to an incident in which a 16-year-old girl named Jada was drugged and raped. Smith wrote on her Facebook at the time, "This could be you, me, or any woman or girl that we know.What do we plan to do about this ugly epidemic?#justiceforjada"
"My niece was given a date rape drug that weekend," the 42-year-old actress revealed, "she's 20 years old- thank God nothing happened because she was with some responsible guys that took care of her."
The actress continued, "She was safe because she was with a group of friends that realized- she said, 'Oh, my god, I can't feel my...' and she started losing consciousness."
"There is an epidemic going on out here in regards to the treatment of women. We have to figure out how we can empower people in different ways," Smith observed.
The actress then shared her experience working to educate her 13-year-old daughter, Willow Smith. She explained, "I had my niece sit down with my daughter and a couple of her friends and tell her about that experience."
She went on, "It's one thing to sit with me as her mother- It's like 'Okay, Mom, yeah, I get that.' But when you have your 20-year-old cousin that comes in, and she's like, 'This is what happened,' and it was somebody you looked up to as well, it's like, 'Oh, man, this is really real.' "
Smith said that she tried to empower her teenage daughter by trusting her as an individual. She explained, "When you allow a person to be an individual and you allow a person to have power within and have confidence with who they are, she'll never have to look in the eyes of a man and question whether it's a 'yes' or a 'no' - she's going to be very clear."