Possible Causes and Negative Consequences of Hazing

Hazing is a humiliating and dangerous ritual performed by college students seeking membership to a fraternity. It is not a necessary thing to do because it intentionally endangers the health and safety of the member.

This act usually involves alcohol, harassment, degradation, and violence. It is often about power and control because hazers have a need to feel powerful. According to noted hazing expert Hank Nuwer, 82% of deaths from hazing involve alcohol. For example, the older members make the new members chug beer or water. In universities, this is called “subtle hazing” because it may seem harmless, but it can cause death due to overdose. Another example is daring the members to run around naked. If they don’t do that, they would not be accepted to join the fraternity. The members are forced to do it even if they feel embarrassed, so the older members harass them through poking fun. The ones who were dared would most likely feel ashamed and stressed. In extreme measures, the members are abducted, burned, beaten up, forced to consume drugs or ingest vile substances, and exposed to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection. These fraternities’ ceremonies cross the line, meaning their actions result to dangerous situations, often leading to death from suicide or physical injuries.

These traumatic acts can have lasting effects on its victims such as sleep problems, trust issues, depression, loss of sense of control, poorer performance in classes, post-traumatic stress syndrome, loss of interest in being part of a group or community, and illness or hospitalization because of psychological or physical illness/injury. The hazing may trigger reactions to previous events, which can have devastating consequences for the victim. Unfortunately, someone who has been the victim of hazing is also more likely to do it to others in the future because they feel that making other people suffer will heal the emotional and physical hurt that they are feeling. The hazers and bystanders are also at risk for psychological trauma and emotional difficulties like guilt about their failure to intervene and help.

Fraternities exist because they are bonded with the same interests. These organizations give a sense of belonging and a feeling of acceptance to the students, especially the freshmen. The connections gained through the organization, both within the university and at the national level, can have serious long-term benefits. Joining one of these organizations makes the student a member of an exclusive club. This membership affords an instant connection with any other members of that club. As they advance in their college education and career, these connections can become increasingly valuable for landing interviews, listing references, or getting letters of recommendation. Members of fraternities and sororities also help the members cultivate leadership skills, gain a sense of social identity, and learn to play well with others. The group’s activities create valuable opportunities to contribute, coordinate and lead, which are all valuable skills for eventual participation in the workforce and will later be helpful for the member as they work toward future job opportunities.

But in order to join, certain rituals such as hazing must be performed. Instead of building a stronger relationship, it builds animosity between people and does nothing to foster trust, unity and respect. It is a widespread problem impacting colleges and universities. Hazing is nothing new, but some that goes on is devastating for victims and their families. The victims and the hazers can experience psychological effects including shame and guilt and hinders their academic achievement, destroys their self-esteem, and causes emotional strain and physical harm.

Joining any group or organization should not mean sacrificing your psychological health and well-being. Hazing is hard to stop because fraternities and sororities can enter many universities. In order to stop these malicious acts, fraternities must be abolished but that can hardly be done. This is because many of the faculty members of colleges and universities are members of the organizations. So, the school faculties would fight against any suppression of their freedom to form an organization. We must understand that they are strongly bonded on the principle of “one for all and all for one.” Even though the Philippines has a law (Republic Act No. 8049) that regulates hazing, it does not prohibit. If hazing is done lawfully, it is not a crime and if done unlawfully, it is a crime.

However, hazing can be stopped if we start revising our law (Republic Act No. 8049) and make hazing a crime where it is supported by strong evidences. The universities must also develop an anti-hazing policy where hazing is strictly prohibited. There shall be high maintenance and security for all members.

Hazing should not be tolerated in any group. It should be provoked because of the negative effects on the victim such as physical and mental trauma. Not only that, the hazers and bystanders also experience emotional difficulty. Although being a member of a fraternity has its benefits, many are baffled to know the hardships of joining one. The bad effects outweigh the benefits because hazing is wrong, it hurts people, and it should stop now.  

16 December 2021
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