Hazing has been a huge problem since it resulted to many student deaths all over the world for so long. Despite being outlawed almost everywhere, it still persists. Know more about it now to be able to contribute to its ultimate demise.
“Rebels without a cause”, this seems to be the adage that befits today’s fraternity members who find enjoyment in performing initiation rituals that bring harm or worst of all, death, to supposed “brothers”. Hazing has been a perpetual problem all over the world. It may be unknown to many that there are 1.5 million high school students in the US alone that are hazed every year. In college, 55% experience this. US statistics in February 12, 2010 show that there are 96 deaths due to school fraternity and sorority hazing, not counting those in clubs, organizations or teams. Of these deaths, 82% involves the intake of alcohol.
In the Philippines, the problem of hazing is no different. No less than the most prestigious schools like the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University are home to the most controversial hazing deaths of students who underwent hazing rites. The most recent casualty of this dastardly act of bastardizing what used to be a worthy cause is Mapua student Daniel Lorenz Jacinto, an incoming engineering sophomore who had so much promise.
Statistics seem so easy to read. No emotions can be felt. However, unless a person is involved first-hand, like that of the family, relatives and friends, nobody will really know how heart-shattering an experience of losing a loved-one from the harshness of hazing can be. How can parents who have no idea that their child is a member of a fraternity, accept that he is lying in the morgue, all black and blue, dead from hazing? The pain is too excruciating. It is like the heart will explode and it is so hard to breath. Anger, pain and sympathy will run amuck inside. There is simply no explaining in words how parents will feel in situations like these.
Fraternity literally means “brotherhood”. Fraternities are regarded as a formal organization that had its roots back in the time of Rome and Greece, thus the Greek letters representing the fraternity names. In the US, college fraternities started in 1776 with Phi Betta Kappa as the first.
Students join fraternities for the advantages it can give to them. There can be scholarships to gain, networks to build and most especially, the brotherhood to enjoy. This is why it is very difficult to understand the irony of hazing in such an organization where the love for a brother, or a sister, is of utmost importance. Seemingly, they have this twisted perception of brotherhood.
Hazing is an intentional action. It is done to cause ridicule, embarrassment, harassment and pain. It is done to give a neophyte both physical and emotional harm. There is a very thin line that separates bullying from hazing. The only difference would be that the former can be done anytime to anybody. This is why it is a sorry fact that hazing is done to people by the men who are supposed to be his brothers and protectors. Many have realized the danger of such rites which is why hazing is now banned in 44 states in the US and in most of the countries around the world. Yet, hazing persists and the bad news is that it becomes apparent only when someone dies. Worse, nothing concrete is done to completely eradicate this problem.
In the Philippines, what can be said to be the first initiation rites, or hazing if you may call it, was in 1892 by a neophyte who was made to stay in a dark room lit by a single candle and made to answer questions of loyalty to the brotherhood. By the end of the rites, he was made to swear an oath in God’s name and sign a sheet of paper with his own blood. The brotherhood was the Kataastaasan Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or simply KKK or Katipunan. Their group was formed to defend the country from the slavery of the Spanish conquerors. The new members of KKK, which rose to tens of thousands, were made to undergo such hazing rites with their loyalty being put to the test. Members want to know if they are willing to die for the brotherhood. A cause that can very well be understood especially by those who are aware of the history of this country where people are tortured to death just so that they will divulge the secrets of any group that intends to fight the reigning Spanish rule.
This was the kind of brotherhood that they had then. The type of fraternity worth dying for since it is their country’s freedom they are actually fighting for. This happened more than a century ago. This is no longer the case now. College fraternities exist to provide advantages to its members, not death. Death is not a risk worth taking for mere influence and social network. Is this so hard to understand? People fight against cruelty to animals, condemn human rights and yet, hazing is done with such excitement and indifference that there are cases where the people committing the act is not even aware that the person they are hazing is already dying.
As a parent, it would be to your child’s advantage to ensure that he does not join organizations and fraternities that conduct the crime of hazing. To fraternity members, do not risk your young life by engaging in this crime. Death may not be the intention but such a risk may occur. If it does, there is no more turning back. Imprisonment can be worse than death. To those who have intentions of joining fraternities, think again. To date, majority, if not all fraternities still conduct hazing. If pain or even death is not an issue, then checking the videos in the internet of parents who lost their children through hazing. The agonizing pain and suffering found in their faces maybe the deterrent needed.
Death is inevitable, but there is simply no easy way to accept it, if it happens to a child whom a parent will always imagine to have died in extreme pain, quite helpless and ridiculed by his supposed brothers. Stop the deaths now, stop hazing!