Misconceptions About Hazing

Some of these myths have been used with permission from StopHazing.org. See bottom of page for copyright information.

#1. Hazing is a joke or a prank, nothing serious. 
NO! Hazing is victimization! Hazing is planned out ahead of time, and is a way to assert power over others. It is not a joke, and it IS a big deal.

#2. My members want to be hazed.
No one wants to be hazed. This year, numerous Potential New Members approached members of the Executive Council and told us that they wanted to join, but were frightened because they heard that Greeks hazed, and saw it on TV shows, in the media, etc. Most people have no desire to be hurt, humiliated, exhausted, or uncomfortable. If your new members are looking for a challenge, challenge them to organize a philanthropy for your chapter.

#3. I was hazed and so were the alumnae. It’s the way you join.
This is the way it’s “always been done” is never a justification for your actions. If everyone had this attitude, we would still be living in caves. In order to improve, change is necessary. In order to have a successful chapter, you need to make sure that all members, active and alumnae, realize that hazing is inappropriate and will not be tolerated.

#4. If someone agrees to do something, it is not hazing.
This defense will not work at the University level or at the state level. Even if someone agrees to do something, it is considered hazing. There are many reasons for this. First of all, hazing occurs when members feel the need to fit in. As such, members who are being hazed are susceptible to peer pressure, and are more likely to “consent” to something they have no desire to do. Hazing also frequently involves the withholding of information. A new member may “agree” to participate but only have partial knowledge of what is actually expected of them. New members could also consent to do something because they have been coerced through threats. For all these reasons, consent of the new member does not mean that hazing has not occurred.

#5. Hazing is an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline.
First of all, respect must be EARNED–not taught. Victims of hazing rarely report having respect for those who have hazed them. Just like other forms of victimization, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy and alienation.

#6. As long as there’s no malicious intent, a little hazing should be O.K.
Even if there’s no malicious “intent” safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered to be “all in good fun.” For example, serious accidents have occurred during scavenger hunts and kidnapping trips. Besides, what purpose do such activities serve in promoting the growth and development of group team members?

#7. Hazing increases the bonds of sisterhood and makes everyone feel like a group. While hazing may make new member classes feel “closer” because they have suffered together, they develop an “us vs. them” mentality. Your chapter will become split into classes rather than functioning as a unit. People who have been hazed hold their hazers in contempt and feel animosity towards them. This does not foster sisterhood, or bring a group closer.

#8. You need to haze new members to make sure they are accountable to the chapter. 
There are plenty of other ways to hold new members accountable for their actions. You could have a merit system for your new members, or you could bring them to standards. This shouldn’t be a problem, as it is the way you would hold an active member accountable. In fact, this technique actually serves to teach a new member how the chapter functions while holding them accountable for their actions.

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