Pop sensation Rihanna is speaking out about the night her then-boyfriend Chris Brown beat her, saying it was "humiliating" and "traumatizing" to admit the assault took place and that it was "wrong" that she went back to Brown afterwards.
"It was a wake-up call. It was a wake-up call for me. Big time," Rihanna told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Diane Sawyer in her first television interview discussing the assault. "I will say that to any young girl who is going through domestic violence, don't react off of love. F love. Come out of the situation and look at it in the third person and for what it really is."
The pop star said it was "embarrassing" that Brown was the type of person she fell in love with.
"So far in love. So unconditional that I went back. It's humiliating to say this happened. To accept that? It's a traumatizing experience," she said.
Her decision to go back to Brown, she said, was a mistake.
"I stayed. I even went back after he beat me, which was wrong," she said. "But again ... I'm a human being and people put me on a very unrealistic pedestal. And all these expectations, I'm not perfect."
The 21-year-old star acknowledged that Brown held her in a headlock twice that night and bit her on the ear and fingers. She told Sawyer that she did not try to fight back.
"I just wanted it to stop. I was not interested in hurting him back," she said.
After months of silence since the February beating, Rihanna decided to speak publicly about the ordeal so she can be a voice to help others who may be in danger of returning to abuse.
"It's completely normal to go back. It's not right. I learned the hard way, but again, this is what I want people to know," she said. "When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part. I couldn't be held responsible for going back.
Rihanna: Last Months 'Most Lonely Times,' 'No One Understands'
"Even if Chris never hit me again, who is to say that their boyfriend won't? Who's to say that they won't kill these girls?" she said. "These are young girls and I just didn't realize how much of an impact I had on these girls' lives until that happened."
After a nine-month hiatus, Rihanna is back on the music scene with a new hit album, "Rated R," signaling a return from a time of intense loneliness following the assault.
"One of the most lonely times I've been was in the past few months because nobody understands what it's like," she said. "There are a lot of women who've experienced what I did, but not in the public. So it made it really difficult. I just felt like, 'Oh my God, here it goes, my little bit of privacy.'"
In August, Brown was sentenced to five years of probation, six months of community service and one year of domestic violence counseling for assaulting the 21-year-old pop singer the night before the Grammy Awards.
Portions of ABC News' exclusive interview with Rihanna will air on "Good Morning America" at 7 a.m. E.T. Thursday, Nov. 5. Her full interview will air on "20/20" at 10 p.m. E.T. Friday, Nov. 6.
ABC News' Sheila Marikar contributed to this report.