Rihanna has responded to criticism that her video for 'Man Down' is too violent, telling BET that she doesn't condone violence, but she stands behind the video because it addresses the important issues of rape and physical abuse.

One day after the Parents Television Council condemned the clip for depicting "premeditated murder," the singer called in to BET's 106 & Park and described the video as "art with a message":

"'Man Down' is a song about a girl who has committed a murder that she regrets and is completely remorseful about ... Making that into a mini-movie or a video, we needed to go back to why it happened. Obviously, she's not a cold-blooded killer. It has to be something so offensive. And we decided to hone in on a very serious matter that people are afraid to address.

"Rape is, unfortunately, happening all over the world and right in our own homes. We can continue to cover it up and pretend it doesn't happen. Girls and boys feel compelled to be embarrassed about it and hide it from everyone, including their teachers, their parents and their friends, and that only continues to empower the abuser.

"I personally don't condone violence or murder. I've been abused in the past and you don't see me running around killing people in my spare time. I just want girls to be careful."

Rihanna said she wasn't trying to stir up trouble with the violent storyline: "I didn't go into it to make a controversial video. I wanted to make a mini-movie, something raw and artistic. If I can be a voice for so many that aren't heard, then I win twice.

"Look at how it's affecting people," she explained. "Girls are empowered by this. It's easy to turn it into something negative, but I'm just really impressed that my fans get it. That was really important to me. This is a story for them. It's not for the critics. It's for my fans. They need a voice sometimes, and if I can be that, then I've done my job."

A single from Rihanna's 'Loud' album, the reggae-flavored 'Man Down' was released almost simultaneously with the ballad 'California King Bed.'

Watch Rihanna Discuss the 'Man Down' Controversy on BET