Rihanna has fired back at critics of her new music video, "Man Down," saying that the clip, which depicts a victim of a sexual attack gunning down her assailant, is empowering.
The watchdog group the Parents Television Council earlier this week called the video "disturbing," adding that "a graphic portrayal of the singer getting back at an attacker by shooting him in cold blood in a crowded train station and then fleeing the scene is potentially the worst possible message that could be sent."
"I wanted to make a mini movie," Rihanna said in a recent phone interview with BET's TV show "106 & Park. "Something raw and artistic. If I can be a voice for so many that aren't heard, then I win twice. Look at how it's affecting people. Girls are empowered by this. It's easy to turn it into something negative but I'm just really impressed that my fans get it. This is a story for them. It's not for the critics."
"We decided to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address, especially if you've been victimized in this scenario," she added. "Rape is, unfortunately, it's happening all over the world and right in our own homes and we continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn't happen."
The R&B and pop singer, who has herself been the victim of assault by then-boyfriend Chris Brown, said that she did not "go into it to make a controversial video."
"I personally don't condone violence or murder," Rihanna said. "I've been abused in the past and you don't see me running around, killing people in my spare time. I just want girls to be careful."
In 2009, Brown, who is also an R&B singer, pleaded guilty to felony assault for attacking Rihanna while they were dating. He was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community service. After the confrontation, Rihanna obtained a restraining order against him. It was was later downgraded to a lower level.
Rihanna is set to make her big-screen acting debut with the 2012 movie "Battleship." The singer plays an ammunitions specialist."Battleship" also stars Liam Neeson, Brooklyn Decker and Alexander Skarsgard from the HBO vampire series "True Blood" and depicts the Navy's battle against invading aliens.