WARNING: This post details an incident of domestic violence.
R&B singer Chris Brown has attempted to explain his actions the night he assaulted then-girlfriend Rhianna in a car on the way home from a 2009 Grammy awards party.
Opening up in detail about the night, the 28-year-old dedicated an 11-minute segment of his new documentary Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life to talking about their “fairy-tale” relationship and the now-infamous night he left Rhianna bloodied and bruised.
“I remember she tried to kick me, but then I really hit her, with a closed fist, I punched her. I busted her lip. When I saw it, I was in shock. I was like, ‘F–k, why the hell did I hit her?'” he says in the film.
While Brown tells the camera he felt like a "f*cking monster" after the assault, women's refuge charities have accused the singer of failing to take full responsibility for his actions, instead going into detail about Rhianna's role in the fight, seeming to suggest that she provoked him.
The singer tries to contextualise the assault by explaining it was after a downward spiral in their relationship that had stemmed from him lying about previously sleeping with a former employee and then later confessing to it.
"After that, my trust was lost with her. She hated me after that," he says.
"I tried everything, she didn't care. She just didn't trust me after that. From there, it just went downhill because there were too many verbal fights, physical fights as well. Mutual sides."
"We would fight each other. She would hit me, I would hit her and it never was okay."
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As Brown explains, at Clive Davis' Grammy party the then-couple were approached by the woman and a fight broke out in the car when Brown showed Rhianna his phone and she read a text from the woman.
"She starts going off, she throws the phone,'I hate you.' Starts hitting me. We're in a little Lamborghini. She's fighting me. I'm like, 'Look, I'm telling you the truth, I swear.'"
"She hits me a couple of more times and it doesn't go from translation to, 'Let's sit down, I'm telling you the truth.' It goes to, 'Now, I'm going to be mean, be evil'."
And that's when he describes hitting her with a closed fist, but goes on to say the fight continued with more blows landed and him biting her, before they pulled the car over.
His attempts to justify his actions in the piece have been condemned by women's support charities. As domestic abuse charity Refuge CEO Sandra Horley puts it, "Domestic violence does not 'take two'".
"Whatever goes wrong in a relationship, no man has a right to hit his partner. No woman can make a man hit her; violence is a choice he makes and he alone is responsible for it," Horley told Harper's Bazaar UK.
Abuse charity Women's Aid CEO Katie Ghose described Brown's language as "victim-blaming".
"Brown is sending out a very dangerous message to both survivors and abusers by relieving himself of responsibility for his actions by blaming Rihanna for provoking him," she told the magazine.
The way Brown, who pleaded guilty to felony assault and accepted a plea deal in 2009, introduces the topic passively also speaks of his reluctance to wear the full weight of the blame.
"Seven years ago, when I was about 17, 18, the whole Rhianna incident happened. That changed my life."
"I look back at that picture and I'm like, 'That's not me, bro,'" he says in another part. "I hate it to this day. That's going to haunt me forever."
You can watch the full segment here:
For 24-hour assistance call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT (that’s 1800 737 732).