LOS ANGELES - Rihanna says dealing with the media attention after being assaulted in February by ex-boyfriend Chris Brown was humiliating. But she now hopes to speak for young women who are afraid to talk openly about domestic violence.
The 21-year-old pop star told Glamour magazine in an interview posted online Tuesday that the police photo of her bruised face that was leaked to reporters added insult to injury.
After the assault, she awoke to find helicopters circling her house and reporters swarming her street. "I felt like I went to sleep as Rihanna and woke up as Britney Spears," she said.
Rihanna said she felt disappointed and taken advantage of, especially when she heard that the two officers under investigation for leaking her photo were women.
"I felt like people were making it into a fun topic on the Internet, and it's my life," she said.
Rihanna said she didn't realize how much her decisions affected people she didn't know, like her many fans. She feels stronger, wiser and more aware now, she added.
"Domestic violence is a big secret," Rihanna said. "The positive thing that has come out of my situation is that people can learn from that. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women, because I feel like I represent a voice that really isn't heard. Now I can help speak for those women."
Brown, 20, pleaded guilty to felony assault in June. He was sentenced to five years' probation, six months of community labour and a year of domestic violence counselling for the attack, in which he was accused of hitting, choking and biting Rihanna in a rented sports car.
TMZ published the photo of Rihanna's bruised face less than two weeks after the beating, and the LAPD immediately launched an internal investigation of the leak.