Many people may look back to their college days, and remember with warmth of their crazy rush week for a frat or sorority. When they see this new “panic” on the news about the damage and death hazing can inflict upon people, they may just shake their head and talk about how over sensitized the country has become. Or that college students are just a bunch of “pansies” and need to “grow a pair”. There also a
But, the current culture that our society creates only fosters forms of victim blaming and is ignoring the impact of hazing on our youth and their future success in adulthood. After numerous reputable studies by leading psychologist in the field of youth and hazing psychology such as Dr. Lipkins and Dr. Allen, two facts are becoming apparent. Firstly, hazing is becoming much more illegal, sexual in nature and violent. Secondly, the victims are getting younger and younger and both sexes are becoming more and more exploited. The current nature of hazing has been found to be so abusive and manipulative a sizeable number of victims of textbook hazing do not even believe that a hazing occurred. This almost Stockholm syndrome effect of students not even viewing their abusers as such and identifying with them is a phenomenon that needs immediate review.
Hazing is not some rare issue. In reality just under half of Highschool teens are already being hazed, with just a little less than half being humiliated in the experience and a third being forced to commit illegal acts for “initiation”. So, while parents around the country are trying to make their kids good, upstanding members of our society, their efforts are being thwarted by their child’s peers. While some may think that they could just “say no”, the fact remains that ninety percent of newcomers are afraid to disagree with hazing out of peer pressure. Even more worrying is the fact that hazing remains one of the lowest reported crimes in college campuses, schools, and the workplace, with less than fourteen percent of victims reporting the incident.
It is commonly believed that this is a gendered issue, yet according to statistics, hazing affects groups related to both genders. In college and high school, young adults of both genders tend to be figuring out their self-identity and self-esteem. For either gender to be subject to these humiliating acts commonly called “team bonding” or “fun” is not only damaging to their emotional state, but can get them in trouble down the road. Our society has already troubling amounts of subliminal messages trying to convince today’s youth to have a low self-image. These overt, humiliating, and often sexual hazing sessions only worsen this conundrum.
We live in a world in which students are now facing massive social and economic challenges. Students of today are facing the prospect of being the first generation to be less well off than their parents. time can’t be wasted with useless ceremonies that can cultivate the negative group cultures that have been seen in things like the Penn State football team, Central Florida’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, among others.
As a student athlete at Usciences in Philadelphia, I have been able to see the effects of a professional focus on teams and fraternities instead of one of hazing. Take for example the school’s women’s cross-country team, whose craziest traditions are pizza dates and red ribbons that are worn on race day. They are a close team, hanging out with each other and helping each other in class. Their bond is just as close, I would argue, as any hazing team or frat. Not only this, but their average GPA is an astounding 3.72. This is above the average to get into most medical schools in the country. Not only this, but at Usciences, the Frats and Sororities are all centered around professional tracks or community service. The effects of this show when University of the Sciences often sit in top 10 earnings in the nation after school according to the department of education.
We no longer need to risk young women and men in this game of “team bonding”. We as a society no longer needs to operate in these tribal behaviors of before. And as such, we must continue our process of finding positive ways to create good cultures within teams, fraternities, and sororities.