Actress Jada Pinkett Smith said she is speaking up for sexual assault victims after becoming aware of drugging incidents involving a Texas girl close to her daughter's age and a niece.
Smith's public interest in what she calls an "epidemic" follows an investigation by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services' after a photo of her 13-year-old daughter Willow lying on a bed with a shirtless 20-year-old man was made public online in May
Earlier this month, Smith posted a Facebook message showing support for a 16-year-old Houston girl, also named Jada, told authorities she was raped while unconscious and then found others posting images of the alleged assault on social media, according to the Daily Beast.
Smith told Us Weekly
for a story posted Tuesday that her niece was similarly drugged recently but did not get raped.
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"If you saw what I put on Facebook, you also saw that this could happen to any woman that we know and the unfortunate part is that my niece was given a date-rape drug that weekend," said Smith. "Thank God — she's 20 — so thank God that nothing happened, because she was with some responsible guys that took care of her, and with three of her friends. She said, 'oh my God I can't feel my…' she was losing consciousness. Thank God the people she was with put her in a room, closed the door, and she didn't come to for three and a half hours."
Smith told Us Weekly that she had her niece talk with her daughter and some of her friends about the incident.
"I'm not a conventional parent, which I take a lot of pride in," Smith said. "I don't just sit with Willow and go, 'hey, this is what Mommy thinks.' Let me just bring in a little reality to validate what Mommy's been talking to you about."
The Us Weekly piece didn't mention the Willow photo controversy.
Smith and her husband of 17 years, fellow actor Will Smith, were cleared by county investigators in June who said they found "no evidence presented that Willow has ever been in any danger around [former 'Hannah Montana' star] Moises [Arias], or that she has ever been physically or emotionally abused."
Smith was defensive after the Willow photo became controversial. When confronted on the way to catch a flight by reporters, Jada seemed irritated, and decided to make a statement in response to their questions about the photo.
"Here's the deal: There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation," she said wagging her finger. "You guys are projecting your trash onto it, and you're acting like covert pedophiles, and that's not cool."
Smith is gearing up to launch a new fall show, the Caped Crusader series "Gotham."
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