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Rihanna says she left Chris Brown to set an example for other domestic violence victims

November 5, 2009 |  5:07 am


Getprev-20 Music star Rihanna said she decided she had to end her relationship with former boyfriend Chris Brown after realizing the message she sent to her fans by going back to him after he assaulted her.

“When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result into some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part,” she told ABC’s Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” this morning in the first part of an exclusive interview. “I couldn’t be held responsible for telling them, ‘Go back.’ Even if Chris never hit me again, who’s to say that their boyfriend won’t? Who’s to say they won’t kill these girls?”

In August, R&B singer Brown, 20, was sentenced to five years' probation and community service for beating Rihanna, 21, on the eve of the Grammy Awards in February.

Speaking deliberately but with emotion, Rihanna told Sawyer that she was ashamed that she went back to Brown after he hurt her. “I fell in love with that person; that’s embarrassing,” she said. “So far in love, so unconditional that I went back.”

“That’s not what I want to teach people,” she added. “But I’m a human being, and people put me on a very unrealistic pedestal. All these expectations – I’m not perfect.”

Rihanna said she came to understand that her initial reaction was typical of many victims of domestic violence. But the glare of the media spotlight made it even more traumatic. “There are a lot of women who experienced what I did but not in the public, so it made it really difficult,” she said. “I felt like, ‘Oh my God, here goes my little bit of privacy, just [having] exposed something that nobody wants anybody to know. Here I am, the whole world knowing.’”

Meanwhile, Brown told MTV that he’s still trying understand his own behavior. “My thoughts [when I look back on it now] is like, 'Why did it happen?' " he said in an interview airing Friday. "Like, 'What was I thinking? What is wrong with you?' That's what I'm thinking with myself. That's what my thoughts are, basically, now.”

-- Matea Gold

Photo: Diane Sawyer and Rihanna. Credit: Ida Mae Astute / ABC

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