The sexual harassment allegations involving Belgrade filmmaker and actor Miroslav Mika Aleksic sparked various reactions in public, but experts and those directly affected by this type of violence warned that "we must start breaking the chain of silence" and that “there is no excuse for the rape.”
Aleksic was apprehended last weekend after being reported for sexually assaulting five students of his acting school, with two of them being minors at the time when it allegedly happened.
Actress Milena Radulovic told the press that Aleksic raped her on several occasions while she was a minor.
Speaking to N1, Jadranka Kolenovic-Djapo, the Sarajevo Faculty of Philosophy professor, said the act of raping leaves “a permanent mark on the victim,” but also warning it is usually the victim and not perpetrator who becomes the one in the focus of attention, like in this most recent case.
“We could see that most of the comments are usually directed towards the victim, like ‘why did she speak out’, which tells us that people aspire to explain a complex social world in the situations when they lack the information and they fill in the gaps with the stances that are full of prejudices and stereotypes,” the Psychology Department professor said in N1's Novi Dan programme.
“Among the comments were the ones saying that Radulovic developed her career, which means bias and prejudice, and then some features that are actually a part of prejudice towards a profession, which is the profession of acting, are attributed as stereotypes,” she explained.
It is never too late to speak about this or any other kind of violence openly, the professor stressed.
Ajna Jusic, the child of a war rape victim, expressed disbelief over the notion that people in Bosnia and Herzegovina still support “the same myths.”
“My mother herself was a rape victim 27 years ago and both this information and bad comments in public triggered a new trauma for me and my mother. The biggest problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina is our educational system producing those that are easy to manipulate with, and the Balkan people responded themselves to the question ‘why didn't she say it before’,” Jusic told N1.
“We must start breaking the chain of silence,” she added.