If you are having questions about hazing, you’re in the right place. Here, we will discuss what it is, how dangerous it might be, and all the questions you might have about this “tradition.”
What Is Hazing?
Hazing is a process of initiation that is quite popular in fraternities. It is dangerous, stupid, and often illegal and humiliating. Hazing goes by many different names. In Australia, they call it bastardization. In South Asia, it is called ragging, deposition, or simply an initiation ceremony.
Any activity that has a goal of humiliating, abusing, hurting, or degrading a person can fall under the term of hazing. However, fraternities are not the only ones where hazing is almost a tradition. You can find it in many other social groups, gangs, sports clubs, universities, military, and probably anywhere else where the majority is male.
Sometimes, it ends with a simple prank. However, it’s not rare for it to become a criminal activity. You probably saw numerous movies where a new member joins a group, college, army, or anything else, and they need to do a certain task to prove their worth. Hazing practice can include spanking, hosing, covering with dirt, food, or even urinating on a new member.
Isn’t That Fraternities and Sororities All Do Hazing?
No. While hazing is often associated with student organizations like national fraternities or sororities, it is not exclusively tied to them. We already mentioned that hazing could be practiced in all types of groups. Whether it is a band, sports team, army unit, or any other group that “requires” a recruitment process.
Hazing is not something that happens only in colleges. It is a social problem, and it needs to stop. We often see in movies that a new member who joins a Greek organization often needs to prove their worth and show that they belong with them. However, it is a thing in every corner of the world, from India and Pakistan to Latvia or Brazil. It seems that no one is safe from this dangerous practice.
Isn’t It Just a Prank That Went Bad?
No — pranks are fun. If you are pranked, you should start laughing, or maybe even say something like: “Oh, I’ll get you next time!” But it shouldn’t leave you scarred for life. Hazing is never accidental. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Canadian military had a way of hazing newcomers by sending them to find a brass magnet. While this might seem funny at first because brass is not magnetic, the idea behind it is to show domination and humiliate a person. The same thing can be found in any industry as well. People often tease new workers to show how they know so much about their jobs and find a way to humiliate the one that just wants to start working.
So, no — hazing is not a prank, especially if you consider the number of hazing deaths. Hazing rituals and methods are anything but funny. It is the next level of bullying someone who just wants to be a part of the group.
Is It Still Considered Hazing If There Is No Malicious Intent?
Yes, it is as simple as that. Most of the rituals you can find had no malicious intent, and yet people died. It’s happened a lot more than you can imagine. For example, in 1905, a group of fraternity members sent Stuart L. Pierson on a railroad as a part of the ceremony. They believed the railroad was abandoned, but — spoiler alert — it wasn’t. Stuart died after being hit by a train. Now, can you say that there was no malicious intent and that it was all fine? The boys clearly didn’t want to kill him, but they did.
Even if the process doesn’t end with someone’s death, it is still bad. People need to find a way to let it through their thick heads. Humiliating someone because you are in a place longer or because you are older is dumb. Stop hazing and stop finding ways to undermine people just so you could feel better.
Isn’t Hazing Effective at Building Principles?
No. It is not. You can find a detailed list of people who died as victims of hazing. Are they super-smart now? Do they have maximum solidarity? Are they excellent members of the community? No. They are dead. Because someone thought it would help them build up solidarity or make them stronger. But it only made them dead.
There are ways to help someone. Different ways to make them stronger, help them build principles, or whatever else people are using as excused for their wickedness. And believe it or not, those methods are legal. People need to face reality and stop hiding behind that famous “I’m trying to help them” lie.
Anti-hazing programs need to be more vocal and need to find a way to stop this behavior once and for all.
What If I Give Consent?
It doesn’t matter. That cannot be an excuse. You can give as much consent as you want, it still won’t change the fact that hazing should be illegal. And the whole thing about joining a fraternity or any other organization is the problem. You see, some people want to belong somewhere. They want to belong, and they are willing to go through a bit of pain or humiliation to become a part of it.
Willingness to participate doesn’t mean that you agree to be killed, humiliated, or tortured. Moreover, people often have no idea what the process is since these weirdos believe that the element of surprise is somehow making it funnier. While some people might not agree with this, and they believe that the frat initiation process is important for building the character, they would be wrong.
How Do I Know if an Activity Is Hazing or Not?
Usually, it is quite obvious. Furthermore, there are people giggling in the corner, grinning like the Cheshire cat. You can see in their eyes how they are so special because they are making you do something dumb, irresponsible, dangerous, or humiliating.
Never accept to be a part of anything under these circumstances. You are far better off without them. Furthermore, if you feel like you might be a victim, but are uncertain, talk to someone. If you are on the college campus, there is always an admin, counselor, or whatever that will be able to answer your question.
Just remember that this type of pledge program is not healthy, and it won’t bring you any good. Do you really want to be a part of the group willing to humiliate people for fun? Or you want to be a part of someone who will appreciate you. Hazing needs to stop, and Greek Life can survive without it.