In a tremendously moving and articulate interview with 20/20, Rihanna gave her first full-length statements about her assault by Chris Brown in February. Describing the beating she suffered in a car with Brown, the singer said that when he beat her, “He had no soul in his eyes… It was almost like he had nothing to lose.” Speaking to Diane Sawyer, Rihanna said of Brown’s remorse afterward, “He’d say, ‘You hate me, don’t you?’ and I would lie and say, ‘No.'”

That was a chilling moment, one among many. Sawyer showed Rihanna online videos of people — fans? — saying that she must have provoked Brown. Sawyer paraphrased their sentiments: “They say, ‘Did she bait him? Rile him?'”

Rihanna said bluntly of such questions, “It’s ignorance.”

Demonstrating a maturity and thoughtfulness about her experience, Rihanna noted, “With fame comes a lot of things, and the most dangerous is freedom… no boundaries.”

At the same time, she said that when she’s shown the pictures of her battered face from that night, “I get very ashamed, angry… embarrassed… You start lying to yourself, blaming yourself… I didn’t want people looking at me. I felt really lonely.”

She claimed never to have heard the song Brown supposedly recorded for her called “Changed Man.” When Sawyer showed her the internet apology Brown issued and asked the singer’s reaction, Rihanna said simply, “It sounds like he might be reading off a teleprompter… I don’t know if he understood the extent of what he did.”

Rihanna explained the fight’s source: “I caught him in a lie,” when she saw a text message from another woman. “I wouldn’t drop it, and he couldn’t take that.” She described their love as “dangerous… It was a bit of an obsession.”

The awful pressure that is placed upon celebrities to be role models was made clear when she said, “My selfish desire for love could result in some young girl getting killed. I could not be easy with that, responsible for that.” How terrible that this woman should have to bear that weight in addition to what happened to her. That’s one of the biggest flaws of current pop culture — the notion that celebrities must set an example for others. Rihanna went so far as to say to Sawyer, “I’m glad it happened to me, because now I can help young girls when it happens to them.”

Sawyer asked if she “hated” Brown. She replied, “I want him to do well, to have a good career… and to grow up.”

Did you watch the interview? What do you think of Rihanna’s statements?