Guide To Hazing In The U.S.

Every September, across the country, freshmen begin their first year of university excited and looking forward to an eventful year of new friends and experiences. In an effort to fulfill the basic desire of belonging to a group, or to carry on a tradition set by previous family members, many new students join a fraternity or sorority. Image their utter shock and humiliation when they are subjected to all manner of mental and physical hazing. Although hazing is banned, many Greek organizations practice it at any rate, in a variety of ways. This article will reveal some of the many types of hazing that occur, their effects and how to protect yourself from it.

Hazing involves any type of abuse, intimidation, degradation or embarrassment that is inflicted upon people as part of a ritual upon joining an organization or team. Hazing can range from sexual abuse to verbal disparaging. Many freshmen put up with hazing because they feel that it is part of the tradition or ritual of pledging with a Greek organization. However, it is important to recognize when harmless teasing and pranks overstep their boundaries. Remember that nobody should ever have to go through with hazing simply to fit in.

Mental hazing can sometimes be difficult to recognize or even define. In general, any type of non-physical abuse, embarrassment, or other actions that cause a person to feel hurt, uncomfortable or threatened should be stopped immediately. Mental hazing can include name-calling, insults, discrimination, threats or blackmail, blindfolding, being screamed at or forcing a person to act in a subservient or indecent way. The effects of mental hazing can last a very long time, and can be compounded if a person already suffers any mental or emotional issues such as depression or anxiety.

Physical hazing is the more widely known form of abuse that students are sometimes subjected to when pledging. Physical hazing can range from violence such as hitting or kicking, sexual abuse or humiliation, any type of nudity, confinement, or forcing students to consume drugs, alcohol or other substances. In some states, hazing, especially physical hazing, is punishable by law.

Hazing is usually done in a group setting. When a group mentality takes over during a frenzy, it is very common for actions to quickly spiral out of control. At this point, bystanders, that could include sympathetic Greek members, rarely step in to stop the events. Sadly, this sometimes ends in permanent injury and even death. This is one of the main reasons why it is of the utmost importance to stop hazing at the outset before it can get any worse.

Many students think that by accepting hazing and keeping quiet, they can fit into the group. But think again; would you really want to be part of a group that condones terrible forms of violence, abuse and humiliation time and time again? Do not be fooled by thinking that it is a tradition. Most of the time, various types of hazing count as criminal activities. If you ever suspect any hazing or have reason to feel uncomfortable by the proceedings that occur within a group, inform the appropriate authorities immediately. There are many national anti-hazing organizations that offer additional information on this subject. Universities and colleges also have anti-hazing officers or departments, as well as on-campus police, who can help. When looking up Greek organizations, a good sign is one that clearly displays their anti-hazing policy on their website.

One of the main ways that hazing persists is by people being too afraid or accepting of it. It is crucial to take a stand and to help prevent it, either by reporting incidents or educating yourself and others. There are many ways to become oriented within a group and they can always be done so in a safe, happy and healthy manner that benefits everyone.