The Evils Of Hazing You have just moved to a new school, and it is the first day. You thought it was a dream to be on the wrestling team, but in reality it was a nightmare. After practice, you are hog-tied and beaten by your fellow teammates in a ritual known as hazing. For many years, hazing has existed in high schools throughout America without many people knowing; more recently, however, laws are being passed against this potentially deadly ritual as people are becoming educated on the topic. This paper will address what hazing is, how it can be stopped, and my opinion on why it should be stopped. According to the dictionary, hazing is to harass by exacting unnecessary or disagreeable work; to harass by banter, ridicule, or criticism; or to haze by way of initiation. There are three different types of hazing: mental, terror, and physical hazing. Mental hazing is "messing with the mind. " It is used to make the victim look and feel ridiculous. It can include dressing embarrassingly in public, treating another member as your master, or begging strangers for unusual items (Schleifer 17). Terror hazing is used to terrorize the person. It can include laying in a ditch that you are led to believe is a grave, or drinking from poison bottles, that unknown to you, contain only a soft drink (19). The last type is physical hazing, which may include the person having to binge, starve, or stay awake for an unreasonable amount of time. It also includes just plainly beating a person (20). As stated in Everything You Need to Know About the Dangers of Hazing by Jay Schleifer, "No matter how the hazing is carried out, it always sends the same message: we have power over you - your mind, your body, your life. If you want to join our group, you'll have to accept that. Unfortunately, these three types of hazing continue every year. People who have been hazed before believe that if they had to go through with it, the next person should. The people being hazed on the other hand have such a strong desire to be in that group that they will put up with whatever is dealt their way. It is a never ending cycle. So, how can we finally try to break this cycle? Education is the best thing. The more you are aware that there is legislation out there and rules against this, the more prepared you will be to prevent yourself from being in that situation. Find out about your school's policies relating to hazing and who you can report it to. Find the information to tell you if there are anti-hazing laws in your state, in which case you can inform a law enforcement official (Olson 141). As stated by Elizabeth Allan, co-founder of StopHazing. org, "Hazing is a part of our culture. That is why it is so important to become educated and redefine these behaviors. " Someone who has helped to redefine these behaviors is Eileen Stevens. When her son Chuck died in a college hazing, she wrote to lawmakers, appeared on television, and told her story to magazines. She then formed the Committee to Halt Useless College Killings, CHUCK for short. When her son first died, and CHUCK was first formed, less than eighteen states outlawed hazing. Today, however, with the help of anti-hazing groups such as this one, forty-two states have passed laws against hazing (Schleifer 38). By pushing to pass laws like these courageous people have, hopefully one day, hazing will be outlawed throughout the United States. Hopefully, it will be outlawed soon, because in my opinion, hazing is wrong and needs to be stopped. Making people suffer for initiation rights or just for the fun of it is wrong. No one should be forced to go through something painful, emotionally or physically, just to join an organization. Even after the hazing is over, there are still consequences for the hazers and for the victim. Not only do the hazers have to worry about being reported and facing the chance of prosecution, but also about future problems within the group. Often times when hazing is used to develop a true appreciation of initiation, the newcomers feel their work is over once they are initiated. Instead of realizing that this is just the beginning of their work, they feel that they have done their share already. So, in the end, it weakens team effort, feeling, "Maybe it is my fault, maybe I should not have let them do it, or maybe I am just a wimp. " It is similar to rape cases; people blame the victim (Olson 138). As times change, so does hazing; that is why it is so important to put a stop to hazing as soon as possible. Once thought of as strictly a college ritual, hazing has lately become a high school tradition. The trouble is, today's initiations often look more like assault and battery than harmless pranks. It has been reported every year since 1970 that someone has died from a hazing incident. A recent study done at Alfred University, Alfred, New York found that 79% of college athletes had to go through some kind of initiation ritual. But 42% of those students had also been hazed in high school (135). As stated by Brian Rahill, co-founder of StopHazing. org, "When I was hearing about these incidents in 1998, I was shocked. In 1999, I was disturbed. Now there is an outright pattern. If hazing continues at this rate, imagine how it will be when your children are in high school, or even when you’re younger siblings are in high school. Nikki Consentino, a victim of hazing once stated, "I have met a lot of parents because their children are not alive to tell about it. " Obviously, if laws are not passed against this ritual, more children may die just for trying out for a school team. So do the math yourself. If at least one person has died from a reported hazing every year since 1970, over 30 lives have been taken from what some think of as only a harmless prank, and those are only the reported cases. Through this paper I hope you can see the importance of putting an end to hazing and one day it can and will be done.
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