The Truth About Hazing
MYTH: Hazing creates community.
FACT: Communities are built on trust and mutual respect. Hazing undermines the very things that a strong community needs to sustain itself. Hazing is really about power and hierarchy.
MYTH: It is entirely voluntary. Only those who want to be hazed do it.
FACT: New recruits to a group or team are subject to extreme peer pressure to participate. They are also seeking acceptance in a new group. The consequence of not participating may be alienation and isolation – the worst thing a person new to campus can imagine. There is no true consent when the consequences of not participating seem so dire.
MYTH: It fosters unity and brings people closer together.
FACT: Hazing is abusive, and fosters resentment and fear. People simply cannot form close bonds with abusers, no matter how much they want to convince themselves that they can.
MYTH: It is a way of teaching respect and discipline.
FACT: Respect must be earned; it can’t be taught. Likewise, discipline imposed is not discipline learned. On the contrary, it teaches mistrust and alienates recruits from senior members of group.
MYTH: It’s all in fun. Sometimes pranks go sideways, but it’s harmless.
FACT: Hazing is premeditated abuse, characterized by attempts to humiliate, harass, ridicule, embarrass or cause physical or psychological discomfort or harm.
MYTH: Hazing builds strength and character.
FACT: Living through a traumatic experience is not guaranteed to build strength. In fact, it can lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, low self esteem, alienation from the community, and many other negative effects that eat away at an individual.