It seems that the defining point of what is abuse and what is punishment is whether or not it is an agreed and acceptable punitive measure for the act which drew the punishment.
In cases of abuse it's obvious that it's wrong in any culture usually by the measure that the victim didn't do anything to draw the punishing act.
What is odd, incomprehensible to many, is when a culture allows an individual to measure what needs punishment and what does not. From an outsiders perspective it seems barbaric that an individual can decide what is a punishable act and then on the strength of their convictions meet out justice as they see fit (a precise example escapes me at present). To us it's abuse but to them it's the law of the land and acceptable as part of their culture. Perhaps to them we may seem to ignore justice and await the decision of a bureaucratic machine to decide the offenders fate.
Never the less abuse exists in all cultures both as a possibility and a reality. The question remains as to whether those not involved in the incident help or hinder by their reactions to it.
Now I can see how everyone exclaiming about the terror of it that they are increasing the message of "don't do it" but are we not also giving all those involved in it, including the victim and their family, a black mark? Are the abused partially stained by our combined reaction to the abuser and hence take on guilt about being involved in something so terrible?
Personally I think so.
The solution, however, would be much harder than the initial problem as if you remove the outrage does it then become easier?
Again, personally I think that it should be dealt with like an axe blow. Swift, sudden and efficiently. Remove the offender from the situation and leave the scene with the offender never to return. If only it were that simple.
Also what nags on my mind is that no matter what we do there will always be cases where someone gets tarred with the brush of "abuser" who doesn't really deserve it. In these cases the whole moral outrage does us no service.
Perhaps we should restrain ourselves from our natural witch-hunter instincts and let the law take it's course. Surely by whipping ourselves in to a frenzy, even when we are perhaps right to do so, only leads to more barbarism? For what is persecution of the innocent to ensure that the guilty are punished but a route to a more barbaric society?