After being caught on tape making misogynistic and harmful comments about women, Donald Trump released an apology on Friday stating that he's not a "perfect person" and regrets making the comments. But as Twitter user Leah McElrath pointed out, there's a huge problem with his statement: It's uncomfortably reminiscent of comments often made by abusers after episodes of domestic violence. In a series of tweets, McElrath makes eerie comparisons between Trump's words and the common manipulative tactics of abusers.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as "the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault," or other emotionally manipulative behavior by one intimate partner against another. In particular, Trump's comments echo the ways in which abusers can manipulate victims following an episode of violence in order to gain or maintain power or control over them. This is commonly known as the "reconciliation" or "honeymoon" phase in the cycle of abuse, in which an abuser may apologize and promise the incident of violence will never happen again. The abuser may also deny that any abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims, or even blame the victim for causing the abuse — all of which, as the tweets point out, sound uncomfortably like the tactics Trump has employed with his statement of apology. While we certainly aren't implying that Trump is a domestic abuser, it's disturbing that these comparisons are being made in relation to his statement regarding an incident in which he essentially bragged about sexual assault. Needless to say, this behavior — and the perpetuation of it — is never okay, especially not from a Presidential hopeful. If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.