Difference Between Bullying and Abuse

Key Difference – Bullying and Abuse
 

 

Bullying and abuse are both forms of ill-treatment between which a key difference can be identified. Bullying refers to the act of intimidating a weaker person. On the other hand, abuse refers to all forms of ill-treatment of an individual or entity. The key difference is that while bullying mostly takes place within school contexts, abuse operates in a broader arena ranging from the domestic setting to organizational settings. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two words.

What is Bullying?

Bullying refers to the act of intimidating a weaker person. This usually takes place in school settings where children who are perceived to have a higher ground bully the weaker child. Bullying is a result of an imbalance of power. This power differential is not always real and is often perceived. Nevertheless, in most school contexts, children often become bullied. Even in situations where the child does not get bullied by another, he or she may have witnessed others being bullied. For example, older children in schools often bully the younger ones in common areas such as the school cafeteria.

Bullying can take different forms, for example, physical aggression, isolation, spreading rumors, name calling are some forms of bullying. Bullying can have a negative impact on the child who is being bullied as the child may display a dislike towards going to school. Psychologists believe that in some cases this can even cause depression.

When speaking of bullying, this can sometimes extend beyond the school context. For instance, cyber-bullying, or else bullying that happens via the internet through social media is now a common issue.

Difference Between Bullying and Abuse

What is Abuse?

Abuse refers to all forms of ill-treatment of an individual or entity. This is a very broad term that encapsulates so many dimensions. Abuse of power, abuse of position, child abuse, domestic abuse, abuse of information, drug abuse, human rights abuse are some forms of abuse from a very long list of various forms of abuse.

Domestic abuse is one of the well-known forms of abuse which entails all forms of physical, verbal, emotional, social and economical abuse that takes place in the domestic arena. According to statistics, women all over the world become victims of domestic abuse despite their social class, age, religion, etc.

Abuse of power is another common abuse that takes place in various settings such as in organizations, schools, governments, etc. people of higher ranks, positions in organizations use their power in unacceptable, and often unethical manners for their benefit.

Key Difference - Bullying vs Abuse

What is the difference between Bullying and Abuse?

Definitions of Bullying and Abuse:

Bullying: Bullying refers to the act of intimidating a weaker person.

Abuse: Abuse refers to all forms of ill-treatment of an individual or entity.

Characteristics of Bullying and Abuse:

Individual:

Bullying: Bullying is directed at an individual who is perceived to be weak.

Abuse: Abuse can be of an individual or even an object, position, etc.

Context:

Bullying: Bullying takes place mostly in schools.

Abuse: Abuse takes place in all forms of settings such as homes, schools, organizations, governments, etc.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. Dont Bullying By Alejandrasotomange (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Defense.gov News Photo 960509-O-0000I-005 By English: U.S. Department of Defence [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons