Examples of Abuses of Power

We’ve already observed that ABUSE OF POWER occurs in many forms, subtle and blatant, verbal and physical, hidden and observable.  We often think of abuse of power as something that occurs on a grand scale, such as a world leader who inflicts abuse and suffering on the masses (such as Hitler and Stalin).  But many other forms of abuse of power are present within governments, agencies, corporations, legal systems, groups, families, and relationships.

  • When a relative of a house-bound elderly woman takes financial advantage of her, it is abuse of power called “Elder Abuse.”
  • When a parent inflicts physical or emotional harm on a child, it is abuse of power called “Child Abuse.”
  • When a Hollywood executive promises promotion or threatens consequences if an actress does not engage in sexual behavior with him, it is abuse of power called “Sexual Abuse.”
  • When a husband physically assaults or threatens his wife with harm, it is abuse of power called “Spousal Abuse.”

What about when a prosecutor knowingly withholds exculpatory evidence that would prove a defendant’s innocence?  That is ABUSE OF POWER. (See Brady v. Maryland and the Brady Rule).

Or when a state legislature rules that freedom of speech does not apply to a faith-based organization such as a crisis pregnancy center?  That is ABUSE OF POWER.

What about a political figure who openly encourages harassment of those who support an opposing political administration or group? That is ABUSE OF POWER.

ABUSE OF POWER occurs ANY TIME someone uses their position of power or authority in an abusive way, in order to take advantage, manipulate, harm, or punish. 

ALL abuses of power are wrong and violate basic human rights.  At Abuse of Power.org, we work to expose abuses of power wherever they are found, to fight for the abused, and to bring about justice and change.