Violence as a key manifestation of social problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Abstract


The term ‘social problem’ was first introduced as a synonym for ‘illnesses’ under unfavorable social-economic conditions [9]. Social problems are considered by social science when it comes to their negative consequences for satisfying one’s needs and self-realization [15]. According to R. Metron and R. Nisbet, social problems are “the result of mismatch between social values and reality; the effect of social causes that are considered unfavorable; they can be manifest and latent; they have social consequences and determine planned and meaningful social actions” [10. P. 156]. The article focuses on the social problems in a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) - the Republic of Srpska - to prevent and minimize them even in their most sociopathic forms. The empirical study was conducted on the sample of 220 respondents (105 male and 113 female) from October 2016 to January 2017 in seven municipalities of the Republic of Srpska as a part of B&H. The author wanted to estimate the respondents’ awareness of certain notions related to the pathological sexual assaults (paraphilias) and on the level of domestic violence in particular against women. The study combined empirical and theoretical parts to test the authors’ hypotheses. Among them an assumption that many respondents do not know the meaning and are not in any other ways familiar with different types of paraphilias. Another author’s assumption was that women of the Republic of Srpska are more exposed to specific types of violence, which is still not enough discussed in public due to the traditional communicative and social barriers. The third author’s hypothesis was that women are more exposed to psychological and physical violence due to unfavorable social-economic conditions. To prove this the author used statistical data to assess the relationship of different features of the sample and reveal the factors affecting the development and changes in the above mentioned social problems. If the factors considered in the article are not publicly recognized and discussed the current situation will lead to the highly deviant (delinquent) behaviour that will turn into a socially acceptable model and determine serious negative consequences for the society.

Theoretical framework and methodology of the research The article presents both an empirical study and a theoretical research or even a theoretical revision based on the relevant empirical facts. Such a revision focusing on theoretical premises, conceptions, and ideas is impossible without a critical approach to the problem under study regarding the ways of its traditional conceptualization for it affects the empirical techniques. The research combines different theoretical finding of Durkheim, Merton, and Parsons, and of some authors from the Balkans such as Milosavljević, Bošković, Jugović, Ljubičić, and others. The hypotheses of the research are based on the argument that the deviant behavior in today’s society is rather frequent primarily due to prevalence of illegitimate modes and/or means to satisfy individual and group needs, while the degree of satisfaction of needs in our society depends on the quality of interaction of factors affecting socialization. Furthermore, it was necessary to apply the quantitative methodology to estimate the scale of the problem and measure the relationship of its different aspects and factors [5. P. 134]. The most general part of the survey refers to the social-demographic and social-economic characteristics of respondents (sex, age, education, employment, structure of family, marital status, place of residence, financial situation, membership in political parties, employment status). Another part of the questionnaire refers to the respondents perception of deviant behavior (corruption, delinquent actions, violence) and to their own deviant practices and being victims of such (in various criminal acts, in domestic violence, cyber violence), to their understanding of friendship, their value orientations in everyday life, and so on. The sample consisted of 220 respondents aged from 18 to 66 and over, 105 males and 113 females. The survey was conducted from October 2016 to January 2017 in seven municipalities of the Republic of Srpska (East Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Trebinje, Pale, Šekovići, Rogatica and Doboj). Most respondents were aged 18-24 (28,6%) and 32-38 (18,6%); were from Banja Luka (31%), East Sarajevo (18,2%) or Pale (13,6%); live in towns (62,3%); finished high school (58,6%) or have a university degree (22,3%) (Table 1). Table 1 Social-demographic characteristics of the sample Characteristics Number % Sex Male 105 47 Female 113 51,4 No answer 2 1 Total 220 100 Age 18-24 63 28,6 25-31 36 16,4 32-38 41 18,6 39-45 24 10,9 46-52 26 11,8 53-59 15 6,8 60-66 4 1,8 66+ 11 5 Total 220 100 Place of residence East Sarajevo 40 18,2 Banja Luka 70 31 Doboj 20 9,1 Pale 30 13,6 Trebinje 20 9,1 Rogatica 20 9,1 Šekovići 20 9,1 Total 220 100 Type of residence Urban area 137 62,3 Suburban area 51 23,2 Rural area 31 14,1 No answer 1 0,5 Total 220 100 Education Without elementary school 3 1,4 Elementary school 6 2,7 High school 129 58,6 Higher school 26 11,8 Academic degree 49 22,3 MBA degree or doctorate 7 3,2 Total 220 100 More than a half of the sample are unemployed (59,1%), in particular students (22,3%). Considering the period of their unemployment, most are unemployed for 1-3 years (8,2%), 4-7 years (9,1%), 8-11 years (5,5%) or for more than 12 years (7,3%). The most frequent reasons for unemployment are as follows: fired as an unnecessary employee (5,9%); the employer closed the company (6,4%); got fired (3,6%); never had a chance to be employed (27,3%). Among the unemployed 27,7% are registered at the Bureau of Employment. Among the 40% employed 17,3% work in the public sector, while 21,8% - in private sector. Usually, the respondents have their own apartments or houses (39,5%) mainly owned by their parents (47,3%). 42,3% are married, 45,5% - not married. As a rule, the respondents live in a family of four members (35,5%), 26,9% - a family of five and more members (Table 2). Table 2 Social-economic characteristics of the sample Characteristics of the surveyors Number % Working status Employed 88 40 Unemployed 130 59,1 No answer 2 1 Total 220 100 Status of the unemployed Pupil 1 5 Student 51 22,3 Housewife 25 11,4 Pensioner 12 5,5 Looking for employment 44 15 No answer 87 39,4 Total 220 100 Unemployment period 1-3 years 18 8,2 4-7 years 20 9,1 8-11 years 12 5,5 12 years and more 16 7,3 No answer 154 70 Total 220 100 Reasons of unemployment Fired as unnecessary employee 13 5,9 The employer closed the company 14 6,4 Got fired 8 3,6 Wanted to find another job 3 1,4 Illness or injury 3 1,4 You felt too old to work 3 1,4 Have never been employed 60 27,3 Have never looked for a job because a partner does not allow to 1 0,5 No answer 120 52,3 Total 220 100 The unemployed registered at the Bureau of Employment Yes 61 27,7 No 97 44,1 No answer 62 28,2 Total 220 100 The type of employment Private/public 38 17,3 Miscellaneous 3 1,4 Private 48 21,8 No answer 131 59,5 Total 220 100 Marital status Married 94 42,3 Unmarried 100 45,5 Divorced 10 4,5 Widower/widow 10 4,5 Extramarital cohabitation 5 2,4 No answer 1 0,5 Total 220 100 Continuation of table 2 Characteristics of the surveyors Number % Number of family members Three 74 3,6 Four 78 35,5 Five 34 15,5 Six or more 25 11,4 No answer 9 4,1 Total 220 100 Place of living Personal ownership 87 39,5 Parental ownership 104 47,3 Tenant 25 11,4 No answer 3 1,9 Total 220 100 The results of the survey Social problems are usually defined as phenomena perceived by the majority of population as a cause-and-effect relationship being problematic and demanding a systematic prevention [15. P. 377]. According to Merton and Nisbet’s typology of social problems, the research focused on the phenomena recognized as social problems in the Republic of Srpska. Further, the results of the survey are divided into thematic parts relevant to the aims of the research such as the awareness of the specific paraphilias, and whether the respondents have been victims of any types of domestic violence. Paraphilias have “incriminatory characteristics for they deal with misdemeanors, sometimes even with felonies” [4. P. 200]. Paraphilias refer to “any sort of aberrant sexual behavior that is preferred over the heterosexual, and that deviates from the culturally acceptable norms, while the quality or object of the sexual instinct is abnormal” [11. P. 117]. Social pathology within this type of deviant behavior consists of sexual inversions (pedophilia, geronthophilia, necrophilia and zoophilia) and sexual perversions (sadism, masohism, exibitionism, fetishism, transvestismand voyerism) [4], though the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association (2000) distinguishes paraphilias and sexual dysfunctions. The survey aimed to find out whether the respondents were familiar with the notions referring to some sorts of paraphilia such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, phone scatology, necrophilia, mammophilia, zoophilia, gerontology, and cleptophilia. Thus, the types of paraphilia[21] the respondents are familiar with include exibitionism (68,6%), voyeurism (60,5%), fetishism (69,5%), and necrophilia (51,4%); while other types of paraphilia mentioned in the questionnaire were rather unknown for most respondents especially phone scatology, necrophilia, mammophilia, gerontology, and infantophilia (Table 3). Table 3 Understanding the meanings of the terms related to certain types of paraphilia Type Yes No I do not know Number % Number % Number % Exhibitionism 151 68,6 35 15,9 32 14,5 Voyeurism 133 60,5 50 22,7 36 16,4 Fetishism 153 69,5 36 16,4 30 13,6 Telephone Scatology 52 23,6 114 51,4 52 23,6 Necrophilia 113 51,4 72 32,7 33 15 Mammophilia 71 32,3 101 45,9 45 20,5 Zoophilia 119 54,1 60 27,3 39 17,7 Gerontophilia 67 30,5 101 45,9 50 22,7 Cleptophilia 123 55,9 59 26,8 35 15,9 Infantophilia 52 23,6 110 50 56 25,5 All the above mentioned types of paraphilia are characterized with aggression, while some of them, like fetishism, imply criminal activities and consequences (“acrotomophilia - a strong sexual interest in amputees; asphyxiophilia - sexual arousal by oxygen deprivation”, and so on) [4. P. 213]. There is an interdependence between the way a society treats deviant behavior and the social perception of it. The public opinion on paraphilias of now well-known and frequent types relies on personal experience and judgment or on “jibbing, mocking, and isolation” [15]. In general society prefers to apply violence as a kind of problem solving in such cases for “aggression is a social reaction to the interests, attitudes, aims or values of certain individuals, social groups or societies that are tried to be forcefully changed” [15. P. 224]. From the sociological perspective, there are several interpretations of aggression: positivism, functionalism and Marxism, and several typologies of this deviation such as collective and individual aggression. According to Milosavljević [15], collective aggressions usually occur on the macro-level, i.e. on the level of global societies, social classes or large groups, while individual aggressions occur on the micro-level in the form of conflicts between individuals and small groups. Every type of aggression has certain social consequences, but this paper focuses on the micro-level - conflicts in families and domestic violence. Psychology prefers the term ‘family climate’, or emotional climate, manifested in family expressiveness (emotional exchange, how family members exchange emotions and communicate on the emotional level), family cohesion (whether or not family members are devoted to each another and the family as a whole), and conflicts (expressions of aggression and anger) [14]. Table 4 presents the distribution of conflicts in the respondents’ families. In most cases, these are fights between parents and their children (43,6%) and spouses (40%). Table 4 Fights in the family Between spouses Between parents and children Between parents and their parents No answer Number % Number % Number % Number % 88 40 96 43,6 16 7,3 20 9,1 Table 5 presents the quality of relations between family members, i.e. sorts of emotional communication that refer to aggression: 15% said that their family members sometimes hit one another; when someone complains about something, 42,3% of family members get upset; in 20,9% of families members often argue. Table 5 Relationship in families Modes of family expressiveness and emotional communication Yes No No answer Number % Number % Number % Family members help each other 200 90,9 12 5,5 8 3,6 Family members restrain feelings 90 40,9 122 55,5 8 3,6 We say all we want at home 167 75,9 43 19,5 10 4,5 We are angry and we throw things during quarrels 44 20 167 75,9 9 4,1 Family members often criticize each another 103 46,8 108 49,1 9 4,1 Family members sometimes hit another 33 15 179 81,4 8 3,6 When we disagree, we try to stay calm 176 80 36 16,4 8 3,6 We believe that shouting is not an option 154 70 58 26,4 8 3,6 Family members support each another 192 87,3 20 9,1 8 3,6 If you complain, someone gets upset 93 42,3 119 54,1 8 3,6 There is a feeling of togetherness in the family 190 86,4 22 10 8 3,6 Family members almost never lose temper 96 44,5 114 51,8 8 3,6 We argue a lot 46 20,9 166 55,5 8 3,6 Table 6 shows the share of respondents being a victim of some types of violence. Usually this is psychological harassment (23,3%), less often - physical violence (14,4%), economic and cyber violence. Table 6 Types of domestic violence and their scale Types Never Sometimes Frequently Very frequently Number % Number % Number % Number % Physical abuse 180 81,8 31 14,4 6 2,7 0 0 Sexual harassment 215 97,7 1 0,5 1 0,5 0 0 Psychological harassment 161 73,2 51 23,2 4 1,8 1 0,5 Economic violence 187 85 23 10,5 6 2,7 0 0 Cyber violence 202 91,8 10 4,5 4 1,8 1 0,5 The correlation between the phenomena under study was also estimated (Table 7). The results show that there is a statistically significant correlation between family fights and physical abuse (Pearson’s coefficient of positive correlation r = 0,336). Thus, the hypothesis that the families, in which members often fight, are prone to physical abuse (it implies the use of physical force or objects that cause pain, injury, and endanger health or life; in most cases it is manifested in hitting with hands, tearing hair, twisting body parts or face, hitting with different objects, deprivation of food, clothes or shoes, exposure to harsh climate conditions, and so on [15]) was confirmed. Table 7 Correlation between family fights and some other types of violence Types of violence r p Physical abuse 0,336 0,000 Psychological harassment 0,297 0,000 Economic violence 0,267 0,000 The same applies to other types of violence - both psychological and economic. Psychological violence threatens psychological integrity and health (humiliation, insults, verbal abuse, threats, ignorance, various restrictions on freedom), and is the most frequent type of domestic violence usually not implying physical abuse [1. P. 19]. However, there are many threats of physical abuse such as beating, breaking bones and a nose, smashing the teeth, pulling one’s hair and setting it afire. Women are very often threatened by sexual abuse, while children are often manipulated. “Psychological harassment should be defined as spiritual but at the same time it implied destruction of cultural and religious beliefs, mocking, humiliation, ban to practice one’s rituals, or coercion to acquire another value system” [1. P. 19]. According to Table 7, there is a correlation between “we argue a lot in the family” and being a victim of psychological harassment (positive coefficient of correlation r = 0,297). Economic violence refers to the control of economic resources and denial to provide such to satisfy women’s needs, usually this is a denial to give women an opportunity to earn money. The victims of economic violence are given limited access to money in the household, deprived of personal needs and not able to have their own money, because other family member(s), who earn money, spend it on their own needs and leave the household without financial support [1. P. 18]. According to Table 7, there is a statistically significant correlation between family fights and economic violence (Pearson’s coefficient of positive correlation r = 0,267). Thus, the hypothesis that the families, in which members often fight, are prone to economic violence was confirmed. Table 8 revelas possible factors of violence agains women (according to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women signed in 1993, violence against women is defined as every act of gender based violence that leads, or can lead to physical, psychic, sexual injury or suffering of the woman, including the threat to do so as such act, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, regardles if it takes place in public or private life). These factors include specific features of the family, economic possibilities, position in society, and some social-cultural factors. Alcohol addiction, drugs and gambling are the most evident possible factors of violence agains women. The respondents believe that alcohol addiction of the partner in 84,5% cases can lead to violence, drug addicion - in 85,9% cases, and gambling - in 75% cases; and distrust - in 80% cases. Alcoholism is in fact a sociopathological problem that should be considered rather family than individual issue [4. P. 96]. Families of alcohol addicts encounter a series of problems that “affect the functionality of the family, change the quality of communication and emotional relations, threaten the psychological health of children and other family members” [7. P. 80]. Alcohol addicts’ families are disfunctional in terms of relationships, which leads to social isolation, break of social contacts with family friends, aggression and disorder in family structure [4. P. 96]. Communictaion problems in such families prevent exchange of information for making important decisions, and the wives of alcoholics suffer anxious and depressive dissorders, are socialy isolated, think about suicide and try to commit it [7. P. 81]. Drugs determine violence against women for some drugs can temporarily provoke physical violence, and abstinential periods imply aggressive outbursts. The relationship of drugs and violence form three types of deviant behavior: systematic, economic-compulsive and psychopharmacological [4. P. 145]. The problems families face when one of the partners is a drug addict are similar to the families of alcoholics: disorder in social relations, inability to adapt in family relations, and tendency to isolationism. Such families are like an isolated island for the communication between family members is weakened, the education of children is neglected, and traditional moral values are ignored [6. P. 19]. Gambling addiction of a partner can also lead to violence because the main feature of gambling is that the game fiction becomes reality [15. P. 218]. The main goal of gambling is acquisition of material goods accompanied with a certain dose of joy; gambling as a form of behavior means that the person is ready to loose rather than to win, which makes the gamlers’s family gambling victims. Table 8 Potential factors of violence against women Factors Yes No No answer Number % Number % Number % Spatial position of the household 42 19,1 160 71,7 18 8,2 Economical position of the woman 105 47,7 100 45,5 15 6,8 Material deprivation 113 51,4 36 16,4 16 7,3 Frequent disagreements 173 53,2 36 16,4 11 5 Low education 118 53,6 88 40 14 6,4 Partiarhical family 117 53,2 86 39,1 17 7,7 Former experience in marriage 86 39,1 120 54,5 14 6,4 Distrust 177 80,5 33 15 10 4,5 Alcohol addiction 186 84,5 26 11,8 8 3,6 Drug addiction 189 85,9 24 10,9 7 3,2 Gambling 165 75 42 19,1 13 5,9 Participation in the wars in the 1990s 104 47,3 99 45 17 7,7 Children's behavior 80 36,4 125 56,8 15 6,8 Disability of the woman 45 20,5 158 71,8 17 7,7 Illness of the woman 45 20,5 158 71,8 17 7,7 Distribution of housework 40 18,2 163 74,1 17 7,7 According to Milosavljević [15], violence, physical injuries, even murders are often determined by family and gender relations because there are no mechanisms to resolve conflicts in such small social groups in close spatial and emotional contact. The research conducted in 2013 by the Agency for Gender Equality of B&H and gender centers of its subjects in cooperation with statistical institutions and with the support of UNFPA and UN WOMEN (the representative sample consisted of 3300 women aged 18 and over) showed that 42,7% of women were victims of violence since they were 15 years old, and 52,8% did not report any forms of violence; in 2013, 37,9% of women were abused by partners, 14,1% - by other relatives and household members, and 15,3% - by partners, family, and community. *** Society has always been interested in sociopathological problems, and men have always tried to suppress ‘other' forms of behavior differing from a socially acceptable model. In ancient times, Platon advocated the principle of individualization trying to reveal and explain factors of certain crimes; Aristotle, on the contrary, emphasized social-cultural factors, while the representatives of Roman antiquity, Cicero and Seneca, underlined the purposefulness to punish the offenders. In the Dark Ages, the religion was absolutely dominant, and all good and bad actions were interpreted through ecclesiastical canons. The Age of Enlighment developed a more flexible approach to punishing deviant forms of behavior, for instance, Hobbes and Lock justified the purposefulness of punishments to ensure social peace. Positivism in social sciences first focused on social factors as key determinants of crime behavior. Representatives of other theories of positivism, such as Lombroso, believed in biological factors as determinants of crimes and some other deviations [4]. All approaches to the study of sociopathological problems admitted the importance of social and cultural enviroment for shaping individual and group behavior through socialization. Cultural isolation, deprivation, and subgroup values negatively affect individuals leading to socially unacceptable behaviors [8]. The consequences of unsuccessfull socialization are numerous and manifested in both private and social life as conflicts, disorganised families, commitment subcultural lifestyle. Social enviroment, education, science and culture are key means to develop individual and group social values and understanding of disturbing factors in social realty [4. P. 25], i.e. sociopathological problems can be the results of these elements' disfunctionality or of unsuccessful socialization. We are are not biopsychological creatures or isolated individuals, but a unit in interaction with other people, traditions, beliefs, values and moral norms that form the unconscious basis of our everyday life. Society is not an imaginary term for numerous deviant forms of behavior exist within it both determined by and affecting social enviroment. The results of the research, or the indicators studied in the survey, point to structural social problems and identity crisis. Although the Republic of Srpska have some specific formal-legal features, social enviroment, education, science and culture are still basic elements that determine the dominant values of the society and the perception of disturbing factors in it. The results of the survey show that the society in general is aware of the meaning of most terms referring to paraphilia, but a kind of unawareness about less known forms of paraphilia does not mean that all these forms of deviant behavior are to be prevented on the institutional level - through education and legal sanctions. However, aggression seems to be a more preferable solution for the society tends to suppress forcibly interests, opinions, goals, values, and actions that are not traditional or socially acceptable by the majority. In general, aggression is ubiquitous on the micro-level, conflicts and disagreements are determined by differences in personal motives, needs, interests, freedom and rights. Fights are typical for parents and children, between spouses and between parents and their parents, and there is a statistically significant connection between frequent family fights and phisycal violence. Alcohol addiction, drugs and gambling are most evident factors of violence against women. There is an acute need in the sociological study of violence and other sociopathological problems for most of them stay hidden in the private life and do not become public due to the suppressive social traditions that still prevail in many societies.

Šošo BČ Milošević

University of East Sarajevo

Email: milosevic_biljana@yahoo.com
Alekse Šantića St., 1, Pale, 71000, Republic of Srpska

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