03:35 AM EDT 08/24/2014
Originally posted 10/09/2009 01:55PM
Robin Givens was a rising star in the 1980s when her famous husband, Mike Tyson, abused her. So she can relate to what Rihanna is going through now.
"It is so difficult to balance celebrity, being young and having this huge responsibility," Givens, 44, told PEOPLE Thursday at Marshall's "Shop Til It Stops" event in New York City's Union Square to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month. "I was a baby. So I understand the pressure that Rihanna feels to speak out, especially when that camera is on you.”
Givens says Rihanna – who hasn't publicly commented on her abuse by singer Chris Brown – will find her way. "You do need time to figure your life out," Givens says. "I do feel that if she speaks out about it people will listen to her. But she is young and I can imagine the pain and the confusion she is going through."
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