Hazing occurs when a person or group of people harasses, humiliates, or abuse another person or group of people to get initiated into a group or organization. Hazing is life-threatening and is usually associated with sororities and fraternities. However, it can also occur in religious groups, athletic teams, performing arts groups, marching bands, military organizations, and clubs. It can even occur in high schools. Hazing is against the law because it affects people both physically and psychologically. Many times sexual abuse or even nudity is involved with hazing. Some people are forced to commit crimes, are kidnapped, forced to wear embarrassing clothes, beaten, or even tied up and abandoned. Binge drinking often times occur, which results in many deaths, due to alcohol poisoning.
Hazing can leave people feeling embarrassed, humiliated, and ridiculed. It can also leave a person feeling physically uncomfortable, especially if they are deprived of sleep, baths, have their heads forced into toilets, or even forced to perform sexually degrading skits. Some are sodomized with broomsticks, pine cones, and even golf balls. Some hazers go as far as forcing students to shower with urine and vomit.
Because of the traumatic events experienced, many people have a loss of a sense of control, end up with post-traumatic stress syndrome, and may become ill or hospitalized, which can have additional effects on family and friends. Some may even have a fear that the same thing will happen again. It may leave others feeling angry and confused. Sometimes people may not even be aware of the effects that hazing has had on them until they see a close friend or family member being hazed.
Some examples of signs of hazing includes loss of voice due to yelling, not coming home for days or weeks at a time, withdrawal of normal activities or friends, or even not being able to sit down due to paddling. They may even be required to carry heavy objects or items or appear to be very sad or depressed.
If you are unsure whether or not an activity is hazing, just ask yourself, “Will the activity involve physical or emotional abuse? Does it involve alcohol? Is there a question of safety? Do you have any reservations?” If the answer is yes to any one of these questions, it is more than likely hazing.