iVillage Woman of the Week: Rihanna

Each week we pick one woman who's done something to make us proud.

This week we're loving Rihanna for showing her bravery and speaking out about the abuse she suffered. We got a preview of the 21-year-old pop sensation's interview with Diane Sawyer on Thursday morning. After months of silence, she finally discussed that fateful night last February when she was physically attacked by then-boyfriend Chris Brown.

The event set off a flurry of news coverage and court hearings, as well as a series of statements and apologies from Brown. But the most shocking news came when Rihanna got back together with him just weeks after the incident. She eventually left Brown for good, but remained quiet to the press.

This week she shared her story in an effort to help other abuse victims. "I just didn't realize how much of an impact I had on these girls," Rihanna said.

The young singer, who said she's embarrassed that she fell in love with Brown, got emotional as she offered advice to girls in her situation. "Don't react off of love," she said. "F love. Come out of the situation and look at it third person, for what it really is. And then make your decision."

Rihanna's decision to speak out drew a polarized reaction. Many applauded her for having the courage to share her story. But some criticized her for waiting so long, and speculated that her interview was conveniently timed as promotion for her new album.

Who are we to judge how long it takes a victim to be comfortable rehashing her nightmare? After all she's been through, we don't begrudge Rihanna a little self-promotion. It doesn't make her story any less heartbreaking, her confessions any less sincere. And it could be just the inspiration other young women need to leave their own abusers. And for that, we applaud Rihanna for her honesty and courage.

How did you feel about Rihanna speaking out about her abuse? Chime in below!

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