If You Are Being Hazed
Know that you are not alone, and that you have many options. The list below provides some ideas, but it's your choice.
Hazing is a systemic problem. Over 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year; 47% of students go to college already having experienced hazing. 55% of college students involved in club teams and organizations experience hazing. (Statistics from hazingprevention.org)
Stay connected with friends and family outside of the group. Groups that haze often try to isolate their new members from others who might challenge new members to question what they are going through. Even if you're not sure if you want to talk about what's occurred, staying connected can help you feel more in control.
Talk with others about what you are going through. You do not have to keep it a secret. Demanding secrecy is a common practice designed to protect people who are abusing others. You have a right to tell anyone anything you want about what you are going through, even if you were made to promise that you would not do so.
Colgate offers many resources, including administrative deans, and confidential resources. Many people have come to talk about hypothetical situations or friends in need.
Your family and friends can also provide guidance.
You can refuse to participate or join together with other new members to refuse to be hazed. There is power in numbers because groups depend on getting new members to join. For example, some fraternity members admit that they became very worried when it appeared that a group of new members might rebel because of the consequences to the group if the new members left. Hazers don't want new members to realize how much power they have, so they work hard to keep them subjugated.
This is hard to do, but is always an option. Walking away from hazing takes strength. Don't believe it if anyone tries to tell you that it is a sign of weakness or that you weren't tough enough to hack it. Quitting when you are being hazed takes character.
If a Friend Is Being Hazed
- Tell the person that you are concerned.
- Ask your friend what he or she has had to do as part of joining the group.
- If you suspect that your friend is being hazed but he or she won't say so, ask if there are things going on that he or she isn't supposed to talk about. If that is the case, it's very likely that the person is being hazed.
- Let your friend know that it's okay to withdraw from an organization at any point.
- Offer your support.
- Let your friend know what resources are available.
If Your Organization Hazes
- Raise your concern with other members that you trust.
- If the group has relationships with alumni members, seek their constructive support.
- Offer ideas for alternatives to hazing.
- Give examples of groups that have developed strong, non-hazing new member programs.