Whether you’ve personally experienced hazing or not, the reality is, it’s a very real problem that still happens today in all different types of groups and organizations.
Hazing is especially prevalent on college campuses, most specifically, in student organizations like fraternities and sororities. A 2008 study at the University of Maine found that over half (55%) of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing at some point.
To address the realities and dangers of hazing, we decided to bust a few common myths. We hope this helps educate you and your peers on what hazing looks like, so you can recognize it, help prevent it, and stop it in its tracks.
Myth #1: Hazing is not a problem for AKPsi.
If you think or have heard that hazing never happens in a professional business fraternity or that “it only happens in social fraternities,” unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Hazing is a widespread societal problem and not isolated to any specific type of organization or area of the world. Hazing incidents have been documented in the military, on athletic teams, in marching bands, in other college and high school groups, and yes, even in AKPsi.
As professional business leaders, it’s even important to also consider how hazing is neither tolerated nor condoned in the corporate sector and should not play a part in any organization. Whether you’re a business student or a company VP, it’s never okay.
Myth #2: Hazing is just a foolish prank that goes awry.
Many activities that might be considered to be “all in good fun” have the potential to turn into a serious accident. Even simple pranks have the potential to cross a line and become dangerous or harmful to someone’s physical or emotional wellbeing.
Think of it this way: If you don’t feel comfortable participating in an activity in broad daylight and talking about it with your parents or university faculty, it’s probably not something you should be doing. Any situation that tests boundaries and causes discomfort should be a red flag. Be a leader and stop the situation before it crosses a line.
Myth #3: It’s not hazing if someone agrees to it.
Simply put, hazing is a demonstration of power by those carrying it out.
In hazing situations, if someone agrees to participate in a potentially hazardous action, they may not be giving true consent. They might feel peer pressure or that they “have to do it” in order to remain in the group or become part of it. They may only agree to the dangerous activity because they’re afraid of what would happen if they say no.
No one ever deserves to be put into a situation like that.
Myth #4: Hazing is an effective way to teach respect.
Respect is an important characteristic, but hazing is not an appropriate means of “teaching” it. Respect is earned by doing the right thing and being considerate of others.
Rather than teach respect, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy, and alienation, as it creates fear in those who are looking for acceptance.
Would a principled business leader earn the respect of their new employees by hazing them during orientation? Of course not. They would earn their respect by welcoming them in and providing support during their transition. Respect goes both ways.
Myth #5: Hazing is limited to physical acts.
While you might think of or be most familiar with stories of physical acts of hazing, there are other methods of hazing that may not involve physical abuse. Hazing can also be psychological.
The negative impact of psychological hazing can affect an individual years after it occurs and cause lasting trauma.
Hazing not only has a negative effect on the organization in which it takes place, but can cause lasting detrimental effects for the individuals involved.
Remember that whether or not someone expresses their feelings at the time, how you interact with them can have a lifelong impact. Make sure those lasting impressions you leave on people are positive ones.
Sign the Hazing Prevention Pledge
National Hazing Prevention Week 2021 is happening September 20-24. Go to hazingprevention.org to see the calendar of events and register for the virtual presentations, including sessions on fraternity and sorority life.
You can also sign the Hazing Prevention Pledge and pledge to prevent hazing before it occurs, stop hazing when you see it happening, report it when you know it has transpired, and help empower others to do the same in their organizations, schools, and communities.