London: Rihanna has been accused of sanctioning violence by charities, after she admitted that she still feels “protective” towards former boyfriend Chris Brown who was charged with assaulting her three years ago.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the 24-year-old R and B artist had insisted that Brown “made a mistake” and “needed help” when, according to police reports, he punched her in the face, smashed her head against a car window, and bit her following an argument on the eve of the Grammys in 2009.
One charity said that she was in danger of “reducing savage attacks to the seriousness reserved for kiss-and-make-up stories in glossy magazines,” while another called for an end to “sticking-plaster policies” in pop culture’s attitudes towards domestic violence.
“This sends out a very dangerous message to teenagers that roller-coaster relationships with violence-prone personalities are edgy and exciting,” the Independent quoted Erin Pizzey, the campaigner who pioneered aid for abused women by setting up Britain’s first refuge centre for victims, as saying.
“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,” she said.
The ‘Umbrella’ hitmaker also said that the assault had left her in “a weird, confusing space.”
Conceding that she still harboured feelings for her former boyfriend, she 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,” she said.
Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women’s Resource Centre, said: “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 normalise such behaviour,” she added.