Binge drinking and interpersonal violence in the North-West Province : a social perspective
Phetlho-Thekisho, Nomonde Geraldine
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This study forms part of a larger study funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) -FA 2006041100003, stretching across five years within AUTHeR (Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research), in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus. The aim of the larger study is to gain a better understanding of alcohol consumption patterns and causes as well as consequences of binge drinking. While the link between binge drinking and interpersonal violence is well documented, paucity of researched information focusing on the nature of the link was identified. The identified problem pointed to a need for a theoretical study, accomplished by means of a literature review. It is concluded that while binge drinking and interpersonal violence co-occur, there is no evidence that binge drinking causes interpersonal violence. Literature is systematically reviewed to understand the social aspects of alcohol abuse in the broader South Africa. The review concluded that alcohol abuse is caused by a multiplicity of factors and does pose a threat to the quality of life of many South Africans. It has conclusively been determined that there is a need to readdress existing liquor policies. Factors contributing to binge drinking and interpersonal violence at and around different alcohol drinking outlets were explored, following an observational study. The investigation produced some of the following findings: • Neighbourhoods with a higher density of alcohol drinking outlets tend to display public disorder. • Poor management of alcohol outlets poses a health and physical hazard to patrons. • Marketing strategies used are aggressive and irresponsible. It is concluded that there seem discrepancies between existing liquor policies and the actual running of liquor businesses. Narratives of binge drinkers and those of non-binge drinkers were analysed using focus groups and in-depth interviews. The analysis revealed some of the following as precipitating and maintenance factors of the alcohol-violence link: • A culture of drinking: Participants drink alcohol for social, cultural, coping, and enhancement motives. • A culture of violence: Men seem violent prior to consuming alcohol, and violence seems to be a learned behaviour. • Traditional gender roles seem transgressed by women mainly through their drinking of alcohol in public. These findings necessitated further investigation into services in the North West Province in terms of job creation, liquor licensing, non-adherence to ethics and unavailability on weekends by some service providers, and the shifting of traditional gender roles of women. Based on the critical analysis of service delivery networks in the North West Province by interviewing key informants and analysing documents, it was revealed that, not withstanding gaps, the province has policies in place dealing with: job creation; liquor regulation; ethically bound police services; specialized social work services to sexually assaulted victims on weekdays and weekends, and the empowerment of men. It has conclusively been determined that the analysed services, when re-addressed, hold possibilities of instilling hope in community members, including victims and perpetrators of alcohol-induced violence.
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