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Hidden Harm

HIDDEN HARM OF HAZING

The concept of Hidden Harm has to do with the fact that:

  • We don’t know everything about the newest members of our organizations. We do not even know EVERYTHING about our best friends.
  • Someone could have a hidden background that would make him or her highly susceptible to serious repercussions if hazed.
  • Hazing can be physically or psychologically harmful to even perfectly healthy individuals.
  • Mixing hazing with any one of numerous issues individuals may be dealing with can cause the damage to increase exponentially.

What kinds of things are we talking about?

  • Consider the “baggage” that today’s students can bring with them to high school or college.
  • Have you dealt with or know anyone who:
    • Suffers from, depression of another mental health issue?
    • Has served in the military – been in a war zone.
    • Been sexually assaulted?
    • Comes from a family with a history of alcohol-abuse?
    • Has suffered the loss of a friend or family member?
    • Has had an alcohol or other addiction?
    • Has attempted or seriously considered suicide?
    • Is on medication for of has been in counseling for a mental health disorder?
    • Has been abused physically or emotionally?
    • Has been abused physically or emotionally?
    • Has been hazed or bullied before?

All of the above backgrounds – as well as countless others we can’t even imagine, much less know about – could put someone at higher risk of being re-traumatized through hazing.

The book Goat, by Brad Land, describes the car-jacking in which the author was tied up, put in the trunk of his car, beaten, driven around for hours in fear of his life, only to have his attackers dump him in a ditch in the middle of nowhere. A short time later, Land joined a college fraternity where he was brutally hazed. One of his pledge brothers committed suicide because of the experience, and Land suffered post-traumatic stress symptoms in which the faces of his “brothers” and those of his carjackers became interchangeable.