Hazing education must go beyond memorizing a Powerpoint

It may save someone’s life.

Hazing records have been kept yearly since 1838, but hazing dates all the way back to the Greek times, with Greek philosopher Plato as the founder. Hazing has since become a common practice among organizations, but with the death toll rising each year, it’s time we put a stop to it.

According to Hazingprevention.org, hazing is described as “any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not new, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.”

The most well-known hazing-related incidents usually include alcohol or a public display of humiliation, but it goes beyond that. Hazing can also be physically or emotionally hurting a member, regardless of if they want to endure it or not.

Hazing is most known on college campuses, particularly in Greek organizations. They see it as a way for members to “earn their spots” or to show the power difference between senior and younger members. Those who haze usually do not see a problem with it, saying that it is a “tradition” and must be kept going. Anyone who has seen someone been hazed or has been hazed would know that it is not a “tradition”, and it needs to be stopped.

Not only does hazing cause emotional trauma, severe cases can result in hospitalization or even death. It does not have to include alcohol, it can be anything that causes the person being hazed to feel uncomfortable. Regardless of “tradition”, there is no reason for anyone to have to experience that just to become a member of an organization.

But people do it. In fact, most organizations on college campuses do haze. But it has also reached to high schools, with statistics showing that one in five Americans have reported being hazed in high school.

Just let that sink in. One in five high school students have been hazed, not including those who chose not to report, or those who weren’t lucky enough to see another day post their hazing incident.

Where does the line get drawn? When someone’s child gets emotionally scarred? That’s already happened. When someone’s child gets hospitalized? That’s already happened. When someone’s child dies? Again, that’s happened, numerous times, and yet, it’s still happening.

People will say that they did not put a stop to the hazing because they “did not realize it was hazing” or it “didn’t seem bad.” They think because the person being hazed is alive and seemingly alright that everything is fine, and because they did not do it means they are off the hook.

Imagine if everyone thought that way, that if they did not partake in hazing someone or witnessed it and it didn’t “seem bad”, then it wasn’t their fault. Imagine how many lives could have been lost, all because someone didn’t speak up.

Thankfully, there have been people to step up and fight for a change. In 2007, HazingPrevention.org was founded by Tracy Maxwell to educate and inform people on what hazing is and how to prevent it. They also founded National Hazing Prevention Week, which runs the last week of September every year.

Their goal is to bring awareness to hazing and educate people on it so they can put a stop to it. It’s all well and good, but there should be more. As mentioned on their website, hazing prevention should not solely be taken seriously one week out of the year. Instead, it should be taken seriously year-round.

If more and more people were made aware of what hazing actually is and the effects of it, then maybe they would stop doing it. There is no reason for anyone to be hazed, even if it is to join an organization. If an organization forces you to be hazed just to be in it, then that’s an organization that you should not want to be a part of.

Hazing is very, very real, and the consequences of it are too. The more awareness and education brought up about the subject, the less likely it is to occur in the future. Regardless of your age or position, everyone should join the fight to end hazing, before it ends another person’s life.