A Quick Word about the Persistence of Hazing
So...what's the deal with hazing?
Contrary to what you may believe, even the seemingly inoffensive acts of forcing pledges to perform silly errands and clean houses can be harmful. And it perpetuates a tradition of hazing, which, in the wrong hands and when taken too far, can be life-altering.
Beatings. Sexual assaults. Brandings. Drownings and near drownings. Head shavings. Binge drinking. Mental torture and humiliation.
Such hazings are "rites of initiation" almost exclusively found in fraternities, sororities, athletic teams, and other campus groups.
A majority of students know about hazing and its consequences. And yet hazing continues, despite explicit rules that prohibit it and because of a code of silence that sustains it. As a result, lives are cut short, friendships lost, and reputations ruined--all because friends "just wanted to have some fun."
What is hazing and why does it still happen?
When most people think of hazing, images of frats and sororities usually come to mind. That is where the most public instances of hazing occur. Hazing has been in the news recently, with a father attempting to sue a college over his son's suicide-- after he was hazed. You can read that story, here.
- Over-consumption of alcohol is frequently associated with serious injuries and deaths resulting from hazing.
- There are a number of explanations about why hazing happens and why hazing activities get out of hand so often, but most are rooted in the impulses people have to gain acceptance or exert power over others.
- Almost 90 percent of states have anti-hazing laws; hazing can result in both criminal and civil penalties.
- Breaking the hazing cycle requires dedicated, forceful, and courageous action by members and group leaders.
- Individuals always have the choice of using their reasoning ability to think before acting, taking into consideration their values, principles, and loyalties even in situations as challenging as hazings.
Find out more about how to stop hazing
The infographic on the right provides an overview of some hazing statistics. We hope that you find it helpful and informative.
So why does it still happen seemingly frequently?
We all know hazing is an awful practice.
Hazing persists among members of social and professional organizations, athletic teams, and clubs, despite widespread negative publicity about its harmful and sometimes life-altering effects.
Whether hazing activities are intended only as fun and games or whether they are aimed at getting members to prove their “worthiness” by enduring a variety of physical and mental punishments, hazing is always dangerous and usually illegal, destroying the very principles and relationships it aims to strengthen.
Maybe some people feel that hazing is an exercise in brotherhood/sisterhood. Maybe they think it causes a bond between those who go through it. Maybe they think "Oh I was hazed, and it was no big deal."