Abuse could be defined as violation of a right one is entitled to either by law or society’s values and norms. Society progresses when it provides a set of rights to its members and take steps to safeguard those rights. But incidents involving abuse of one of more of these particular rights hurt the very sacred individual dignities that support the foundation of the society.
A physical abuse is abuse because it violates one’s right to be free from harm to body that has no legal or moral basis. It’s no wonder that one of the jobs of security enforcement agencies is to protect society members from undue physical harm. Similarly, emotional abuse is abuse because it is intended to inflict harm on one’s psychological well being and could have disastrous impact on one’s ability to function normally in personal and professional lives. The society strives to provide both physical and emotional security to its members. It is not uncommon for the government to limit hate speech even if it falls within free speech domain because hate speech results in emotional abuse of the targeted group/s.
Any example of abuse makes it clear that acts defined as abuse violate either explicit or implicit rights of individuals. For example, a child deserves a loving and secure environment to grow in and when he/she is exposed to violence or mistreatment, an act of abuse takes place because a child’s right to a loving and secure environment has been violated. Explicit and implicit rights exist because they impose numerous benefits upon the society and acts of abuse threaten the society’s well being by increasing the risk that members exposed to abuse may not reach their full potential.