Even today, it is relatively common to hear in the news cases of abuse and violence between the sexes or between partners, child abuse or different types of assault against a certain type of individual.
Terms such as abuse and mistreatment often appear, which are generally used as synonyms. However, these two concepts, while effectively related, do not imply exactly the same thing.
In this article, we aim to establish some of the main differences between child abuse and mistreatment.
Define the two concepts
To understand the possible differences between the terms abuse and abuse, one must first understand what they stand for or how they are defined.
Definition of abuse
Abuse is any act committed by one person towards another in which violence is used. or which is intended to harm the abused subject. The purpose of causing damage can vary widely. It can be physical, mental, sexual, patrimonial …
And not only doing acts is considered ill-treatment, but also omitting it so long as it causes harm to victims of violence. In some cases, the violence may not be intentional (for example, a person’s needs may be ignored, causing harm without necessarily intending to provoke). While power relations can intervene, they do not necessarily imply a situation of inequality between the two parties from which one of them benefits, in which case we would speak of abuse.
Definition of abuse
As for abuse, when we use this word we are referring to the existence of an over-limitation in relation to something or someone, taking advantage of the subject makes it of an element, attribute or specific situation that it possesses or has been given up to accomplish an act or to accomplish something that does not correspond to it.
This implies the existence of an unequal relationship. In the interpersonal realm, the abuse of a person involves the use or harm of a person by any means, usually using some form of physical, mental, sexual, socio-economic or vicarious violence.
Main differences between ill-treatment and ill-treatment
Although commonly used as synonyms, the concepts of abuse and mistreatment have a number of differences that make them slightly different concepts. Here are some of the main differences between the two.
1. Level of specificity
The term abuse includes how we have seen all this harmful act willfully done to a person, Being or property of a subject. This would also include violence as a type of violence in which there is an inequality between the aggressor and the abuse.
2. Power relationship
One of the main differences between abuse and abuse is that while both terms refer to the presence of some type of violence or harm done to someone or something, the concept of abuse includes the notion that there is an element that causes an unequal relationship to exist between the two subjects.
The element in question can be very variable, starting from aspects such as physical strength, age and experience, class or social position, position in the hierarchy of power or simply the ability to manipulate or to compel the existence of an emotional bond between the two. The abusive party takes advantage of this inequality to harm the victim.
In general, in both abuse and abuse situations, we can find that the abuser intends to harm the injured party. However, there are certain types of abuse where it is not necessary, such as ignoring the needs of the affected party (as in the case of animal abuse) or distraction.
If it is sometimes possible that someone is abusing without knowing it (for example that because of their power, another person does something for them even though it was not the subject’s intention to take advantage of their position ), it is much more common for abuse to be fully aware and intentional.
4. Usual use of the term
It is common that when we talk about abuse the first thing we think about is the existence of sexual violence.. This is because to perpetrate this type of abuse, the aggressor uses for his own benefit and at the expense of the other his greater physical strength, his age, his power, the existence of an emotional bond, emotions like fear or fear or just surprise to get to dominate the affected part and to do the deed. Examples of this can be found in cases of rape, sexual harassment or sexual abuse of children. It is also often used to talk about abuse of authority.
On the contrary, when we speak of abuse or mistreatment, we are generally referring to the existence of physical and psychological violence, in which beatings, insults and harassment appear.
However, it should be borne in mind that at this point we are talking about the usual use given to the terms, while abuse is still a type of abuse.