*Rihanna continues to defend the controversial new video for her latest single “Man Down,” saying the footage of her murdering a man who appears to have sexually assaulted her a day earlier is a message of empowerment for girls.

As previously reported, The Parents Television Council, the Enough is Enough campaign and think tank Industry Ears, have attacked the video as an act of calculated murder that will encourage young women to turn to violence.

But Rihanna, the victim of a violent 2009 physical attack by then boyfriend singer Chris Brown, told Black Entertainment Television (BET) on Thursday that “Man Down” addresses the topic of rape.

“Rape is happening all over the world and we continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn’t happen,” Rihanna, 23, told the network in an interview.

“Girls are empowered by this … I’m just really impressed that my fans get it,” she said. “That was really important to me. This is a story for them.”

She also told BET, which itself drew criticism for airing the video, that the girl she depicts is “not a cold-blooded killer” and she shows remorse about the killing.

“I didn’t do it to make a controversial video,” Rihanna said. “I wanted to make a mini-movie, something raw and artistic.”

“Man Down”, the latest single from Rihanna’s album “Loud”, was released last week.