Has Rihanna forgiven ex-boyfriend Chris Brown for the 2009 felony assault that landed the "Deuces" singer on probation? Maybe so. The red-headed pop star extended a gesture this week: She approved Brown's request to have his restraining order modified, an attorney for the "S&M" singer told E! News.
Brown, who was praised last week by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge for successfully completing his required domestic violence courses, must return to court to have the restraining order terms amended. Under the new guidelines, Brown will be allowed to interact with Rihanna as long as he does not annoy, molest or harass her.
Rihanna's support of lifting the restraining order may surprise some who believe she has been holding a grudge against Brown and conveying messages of retaliation in her songs and videos, "Hard," "Love The Way You Lie," and "S&M."
UCLA clinical psychologist Dr. Gail Wyatt, who has done extensive research on domestic violence and sex therapy, is concerned that Rihanna's music is sometimes "over-interpreted" by the public and media. "I don't think that it's very easy to understand how a person feels in public," she said. "So it's difficult to assume that her behavior or experience is being lived out through certain music unless she says it is."
Wyatt added that the shocking imagery and messages in the music Rihanna has released since the altercation with Brown could merely be a way to maintain media coverage. "We really don't know whether it's connected to her own personal experience or a need to find something different to sing about in order to keep a person in front of the media," Wyatt said.
Rihanna has expressed her desire to help young girls in tumultuous relationships. Making a public service announcement could be an effective way of raising awareness. "Rihanna can help people make that leap by doing ads and saying, ‘Don't let what happened to me happen to you'," Wyatt said.
Wyatt feels celebrity gossip distracts people from their own problems and she advises anyone facing domestic violence to seek out professional help. "You really need to sit in a private room and talk about what you've been through, what you've seen, and have a professional who is trained in sex therapy to help you break the cycle of violence in your own relationship."
Rihanna and Brown have worked hard to turn their lives around in the two years since the incident. On Saturday, Chris Brown will be appearing on "Saturday Night Live," and Rihanna will be performing at the Grammys on Sunday.