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The issue of sexual assault has hit home for Jada Pinkett Smith, and she’s speaking out about it.

During a panel promote her upcoming Batman-universe series, “Gotham,” Jada took a moment to comment on how she can relate to the case of a 16-year-girl whose rape went viral on social media.

“My niece was given a date rape drug that weekend,” the actress shared, Us Weekly reports. “She’s 20 years old – thank God nothing happened because she was with some responsible guys that took care of her.”

The “HawthoRNe” star noted that the only reason her niece was safe was because she was surrounded by friends who cared about her and could react quickly when she began to pass out.

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Days before she made these statements, Jada threw her support behind the ‘Viral’ rape victim from Houston, also named Jada. The 16-year-old student, was drugged in much the same way that her niece had been.

“This could be you, me, or any woman or girl that we know,” the actress wrote in a post on Facebook earlier this month. “What do we plan to do about this ugly epidemic? #justiceforjada.”

Jada (the actress), who has a 13-year-old daughter named Willow, repeated her concerns at the press event this week. “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,” she asserted.

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Since her niece had survived an attempt at sexual assault, Jada has decided that it might be a good idea for Willow to sit down with her big cousin. Jada believes that her daughter might be more receptive to the information if it comes from someone around her own age. “I had my niece sit down with my daughter and a couple of her friends and tell her about that experience,” the “Gotham” star said.

She’s confident that letting Willow have a serious chat with her cousin was a good first step to encouraging the teen to own her identity and find strength in that. Jada explained,”I give her the opportunity to be empowered by having herself first.”

“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 added, “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.”


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Jada Pinkett Smith Pushes Women’s Empowerment To Combat Sexual Assault Epidemic  was originally published on