(This blog is written to inform parents and others of disturbing trends of teenagers.)
HAZING refers to "any activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate".
HAZING has always been associated with young college men and fraternity initiation, but hazing is common among student groups in middle and high school - particularly athletic groups.
Hazing activities are generally considered to be physically abusive, hazardous and/or sexually violating.
*THERE ARE 3 CATEGORIES OF HAZING:
A. SUBTLE HAZING - Behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members and other members of the group or team that places new members on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment and/or humiliating tactics.
- Assigning demerits
- Silence periods, with implied threats of harm
- Deprivation of privileges
- Socially isolating new members
- Name calling
- Requiring new members to refer to other members, with titles (“Mr.”, “Miss”) while they are identified with demeaning terms.
- Expecting certain items to always be in one’s possession.
B. HARASSMENT HAZING - Behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group; hazing that confuses, frustrates, and cause undue stress for new members.
- Verbal abuse
- Threats or implied threats
- Asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
- Expecting new members to perform personal services to other members, such as carrying books and doing errands.
- Sexual simulation
C. VIOLENT HAZING - Behaviors that have the potential to cause physical, emotional and/or psychological harm.
- Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
- Beating, paddling or other forms of assault
- Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances.
- Water intoxication
- Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals
- Public nudity
- Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat, without appropriate clothing
- 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year.
- 91% of all high school students belong to at least one group and half of them, 48%, report being subjected to hazing activities.
- 43% were subjected to humiliating activities and 30% were illegal acts.
- Both male and female students report high levels of hazing.
- Every kind of high school group was involved in hazing, including 24% of students involved in church groups.
- 42% of college students admit to being hazed in high school.
- 79% of the NCAA athletes report being hazed in high school.
- 25% were first hazed before the age of 13.
- 92% of high school students will not report hazing and 21% admit to being involved in hazing.
- 29% did potentially illegal things to join a group.
MYTH: Hazing is a problem for fraternities and sororities.
FACT: Hazing incidents have been frequently documented in the military, athletic teams, marching bands, religious cults, professional schools, and other clubs and organization. HAZING ACTIVITIES IN HIGH SCHOOL ARE ON THE RISE.
MYTH: Hazing is no more than foolish pranks that sometimes go awry.
FACT: Hazing is an act of power and control over others - it is victimization. Hazing is premeditated and NOT accidental. Hazing is abusive, degrading, and often life threatening.
MYTH: As long as there’s no malicious intent, a little hazing should be OK.
FACT: Even if there’s no malicious “intent”, safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered to be “all in good fun”.
MYTH: Hazing is an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline.
FACT: Victims of hazing rarely report having respect for those who have hazed them. Just like other forms of victimization, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy, and alienation.
Read the cases below (actual cases from around the country) and decide who should be held accountable for hazing acts: school administrators, teachers, coaches, students, parents...
- Four years ago a student suffered through a hazing ritual to become a high school choir member. “I was beaten with a two-by-four, and left welts across my rear, and I was hit about four times. I was then covered in human waste, Crisco oil, peanut butter, things were shoved down my pants.”
-When a student showed up for picture day at high school, he expected to pose for a snapshot with the track and field team. Instead, he says, he found himself facedown on the athletic field, the victim of humiliating sexual assaults by his teammates. “A kid grabbed me from behind and held me,” said the 17 year-old. “And another one ran up and tackled me to the ground. And then two others came and held me down to the ground, and one of them started putting their fingers into my rectum area, through my sweats and underwear.”
- A freshman gymnast alleges that one night she was surrounded by 30 upperclassmen and forced to participate in a mock sex act as part of a team hazing ritual.
- Five seventh-grade football players said eighth-grade players bruised them following a paddling. “Isn’t no big deal,” said the father of one eighth-grader.
- Eight students were arrested and seven expelled after a new wrestling teammate was injured in a hazing ritual. Police say the victim, a student with learning disabilities, was stuffed inside a locker, slammed into a wall and sodomized with a plastic knife in a series of attacks. The victim suffered a serious knee injury in one incident and is receiving counseling for emotional trauma. A team member also reportedly told police that both the wrestling and the basketball coaches at the school saw the victim hog-tied and did nothing.
- At Mepham High School in New York, football players face felony charges for sodomizing freshman players with broomsticks, golf balls, and other objects.
- In Chicago, girls of a powder puff football team were splattered with paint, mud and feces. Five ended up in the hospital.
Hazing is illegal in most states. Only Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Wyoming don't have ant-hazing laws.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO STOP HAZING?
- Parents need to demand that hazing be met with zero tolerance.
- Teachers must not look the other way and ignore 'traditions'.
- Students have to speak up and tell an adult when they see or hear of any form of hazing.
"Hazing is not about harmless traditions or silly antics - Hazing is about abuse of power and violation of human dignity.” Hazing is getting more violent and sexual in nature. Our children should be allowed to attend school and participate in school activities without being subjected to humiliating and degrading acts. Hazing can lead to long-term emotional and psychological distress and possibly physical injury.