During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, airing Sunday, singer Rihanna said that she feels "protective" of ex-boyfriend Chris Brown who was charged with assaulting her three years ago.
In the interview, Rihanna said that Brown "made a mistake" and "needed help" when he punched her, smashed her head against a car window and bit her in 2009 (video below).
Rihanna added: "I lost my best friend, like everything I knew switched in a night, and I couldn't control that. He made that mistake because he needed help. Everybody's gonna say he's a monster without looking at the source. I was more concerned about him."
In response, Rihanna was criticized by two advocates against domestic violence in the U.K.
The Independent.co.uk reports:
Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women's Resource Centre, said yesterday: "Rihanna's case demonstrates the emotional complexities felt by women locked in abusive relationships. It is common for victims to blame themselves for violence perpetrated by their male partners. Whatever the nature of the argument, [Brown] chose to beat her up. He has to accept responsibility for that choice. And we need to stop society allowing us to normalize such behavior."
Erin Pizzey, the campaigner who pioneered aid for abused women by setting up Britain's first refuge centre for victims, added: "This sends out a very dangerous message to teenagers that roller-coaster relationships with violence-prone personalities are edgy and exciting. They're not. The relationship is toxic and unhealthy. Both are in need of help and that is the message that young people should be receiving."