When I went to college, one of the highlights of my time there was the news that members of a fraternity at a rival college had been caught in a hazing incident involving nudity, sheep, and peanut butter. While the hazing incident resulted in the closure of that house on campus and seemed funnier than anything else, other hazing incidents on college and even high school campuses are less funny. The Washington Post just ran a feature describing some of the harmful effects of hazing and the myths associated with hazing in schools.
Most of the myths underscore the truthful seriousness of hazing on college campuses and beyond.
The first myth is that hazing is just a problem among campus Greeks. Many athletic teams, campus groups, and even bands are known to have had serious hazing incidents adversely affect their students.
The second myth about hazing is that it isn’t serious.This isn’t true; hazing incidents can cause psychological and sometimes physical damage to those who have suffered from them. Hazing is more than practical jokes gone bad. In addition, a great deal of planning usually goes into the hazing acts.
The third myth about hazing is that if there isn’t malice involved, it’s ok. It’s not ok. Even if the intention isn’t to hurt the person or people being hazed, the person still may be harmed.
The fourth myth about hazing is that hazing encourages respect and discipline. This is simply not the case; there are definitely easier, kinder ways to encourage respect and discipline which don’t result from someone living in fear and terror of the hazers.
The fifth myth regards the legality regarding hazing. Some people believe that if the participant agrees to take part in the hazing that the hazing is legal, even if criminal activity occurs during the hazing. This is not true.
The last hazing myth is that it’s tricky to determine what is and is not hazing; this is not the truth. Some litmus tests to determine whether an incident was truthfully hazing involve answering questions about whether or not there was alcohol involved, whether or not the incident would be painful to admit to a parent or authority figure, and how the person felt during and after the incident.