In the second part of her interview with Diane Sawyer, Rihanna reveals that she doesn't hate Chris Brown, and that she hopes he takes his assault on her as an opportunity to "grow up."

As in the first part, Sawyer is in full portentousness mode, and Rihanna herself seems to be struggling to keep her emotions in check. Though she doesn''t blame herself for the attack, she does seem to think that she and Brown were both contributors to a toxic relationship. She says, "the more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other β€” equally as dangerous, because it was a bit of an obsession, almost." She also casts herself as an equal partner in the argument that preceded the abuse, saying, "I couldn't take that he kept lying to me and he couldn't take that I wouldn't drop it." And when she describes the actual violence, she speaks almost as though Brown was possessed by some other entity. "He had no soul in his eyes," she says, and "he was clearly blacked-out."

It may be true that Brown entered some sort of blackout when he began attacking Rihanna, but thinking of it in this way also probably helps her to forgive him β€” something she seems to have done. When Sawyer asks if she hates him, she replied,

I don't hate him at all, I actually love and care about him and [...] I want him to do well, have a great career, have a great life, and grow up, and just take this as something you had to go through to grow up and learn.

It's a generous statement, coming from someone who was not only abused but then forced to deal publicly with the aftermath of that abuse. It's also a morally complicated one β€” because abuse is so often trivialized and abusers often excused, it's tempting to cast them as wholly evil people who cannot be redeemed. Rihanna is clearly unwilling to do this β€” she says Brown was once her "best friend," and clearly she still wants to see some good in him. In a way it's disturbing to see this, because Rihanna doesn't have any responsibility to forgive or think well of Brown. At the same time, it can be hard to hate someone you used to love, and Rihanna's expressing emotions that many other abuse victims have probably felt.

More upsetting is her assessment of the "danger" they posed one another. She may be right that the intensity of their relationship was bad for both of them, but an overly intense relationship doesn't cause abuse. And while she's kind to say that "this" β€” presumably, the attack and its aftermath β€” is something Brown "had to go through to grow up," beating someone isn't just a learning experience. It's a crime, and while it's possible that Brown will never hit another woman again, he still deserves more criticism for his act than Rihanna seems willing to give. Again, it's not her job to criticize him for our benefit. But if anything good comes from the public nature of Rihanna's pain, maybe it will be that viewers supply the judgment that Rihanna is unwilling to deliver, and recognize that neither "obsession" nor "black-out" is an excuse for violence.