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Hazing is a serious issue that takes place among children, teens and even young adults in just about every level of education ranging from elementary age to college. Hazing usually takes place in a group setting like a club or sorority or college fraternity.

Hazing is like bullying in a way but does have some distinct differences as well. Hazing is when groups of people or individuals will target other members of the group and force dangerous and humiliating rituals on that person or group of persons as a method of initiation or welcoming. In recent decades entire colleges and universities or even lower level schools have been in the media, in trouble for allowing cases of hazing to take place. Unfortunately some cases of hazing have gone so far as to permanently damage a person or even cause death to the individuals being hazed. Because of these hazing incidents going too far and becoming too humiliating and dangerous, schools are taking an active approach at making sure organizations that participate in hazing rituals are prosecuted to the fullest extent and are often disbanded as a result. Despite the cracking down on these methods of initiation, hazing still occurs in schools and universities or other club groups throughout the country. 

Types of Hazing:

There are different types of hazing that teens, children and college students will engage in as a method of initiation. Hazing is a lot like bullying in that a person is targeted, humiliated, embarrassed and even injured as a result of others' negative actions. However, hazing is also different from bullying in that it typically is not meant to isolate and leave out the other person like with bullying. Hazing actually bullies people in an attempt to get them to join and feel a part of the group. Unfortunately this type of "belonging" can be both physically and emotionally devastating for the individuals that are being targeted. 

Types of hazing range from physical attacks to emotional ones. The most common types of hazing used to initiate new members of a club or team often include sleep deprivation, restrictions on personal hygiene, yelling and swearing at new members, being forced to wear humiliating clothing, being forced to eat gross or vile foods/substances, branding, beatings, binge drinking and other drinking games, sexual stimulation and sexual assault. 

How to Prevent Hazing:

If you are a parent of a teen, or a teen yourself, it is first important to look for the warning signs of hazing and get out before you actually are in danger of being hazed. There are a couple of warning signs to be on the look out for if you are considering joining a group, club, team, etc. Remember, being hazed is not worth the emotional and physical trauma that can result just to simply belong to this group. There are tons of groups and people out there who would love to be your friend without having to inflict pain and humiliation on you first. 

Warning Signs of Hazing:

  • Mean/harsh group leaders. 
  • Have heard about dangerous initiation activities or cases of hazing prior to joining from other members.
  • You have a bad feeling about the group or activities required to join.
  • You have been warned by other members or people outside the group about hazing activities for rookies.
  • You have seen the group do things that look harmful or are against your morals.
  • You feel afraid when you are with the group, but even more afraid to try and get away. 

If any of the above statements ring true to you, you definitely want to get away from this potential hazing situation. If you are afraid of the repercussions of trying to leave a group like this, go to an adult. Hazing is against the law and is prosecuted without hesitation in most schools and universities. Be sure and report  your concerns about your safety to a trusted adult or parent. Reporting hazing can potentially help others in the future and even save lives. Make sure you do your part as a responsible individual and don't let abuse like this continue. No one deserves to be abused just to belong or feel wanted. Be sure you do something to protect yourself from hazing. 


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