For many college-bound freshmen, the start of the new school year is just around the corner. New freedom, new surroundings, and for most, new opportunities to meet new friends. This is an exciting life-transition into adulthood. It is a time when young adults are making important decisions for themselves, sometimes for the first time. Some of these decisions will impact the courses they study, and others will have life-altering ramifications. Just as you taught your son or daughter about bullying in elementary school, before you send your child off to college, prepare him or her for the realities of hazing.
Hazing is defined as any activity required of someone who is seeking to join or participate in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers regardless of the person's willingness to participate. Common hazing practices include alcohol/binge drinking, humiliation, isolation, sleep deprivation and sexual acts. Additional hazing rituals that may lead to traumatic injuries include beating, branding, consuming nonfood substances and simulated drowning. Statistics reveal that more than half of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing.
Did you know that there is a 73 percent chance that your child will seek to pledge a fraternity or sorority? Are you aware of the statistics relating to hazing on college campuses? According to the Allen/Madden (2008) study, 95 percent of those students who are hazed, will choose not to report the incidents to campus officials because they don't want their group to get in trouble, they are afraid of negative consequences to them individually, they are afraid other members of the group would find out they reported it, and they didn't know where to report. The study further revealed that only 39 percent of students were introduced to anti-hazing policies when joining teams and organizations.
Will you be the parent who has the "talk" with your child about hazing? Will you be the parent who tells your child that any form of hazing isn't okay, isn't "tradition," and isn't "just harmless fun?" Will you be the parent who prevents a tragedy from occurring to your kid... or someone else's... during those first few weeks of school?
Or, will you be the parent who says, "My kid would never participate in hazing."
Because "my kid would never participate in hazing," over 50 percent of students will experience hazing during their college careers. Are you willing to accept the risk that your son or daughter will be subjected to life-threatening or criminal activities? National Hazing Prevention Week begins on September 21, 2015, and is an opportunity for high school and college campuses, communities, organizations, and individuals to raise awareness and promote the prevention of hazing.
Do you want to make a change? For more information about the hazing epidemic in this country, visit the following organizations: www.hazingprevention.org, www.stophazing.org, and www.clerycenter.org. Want to support the movement? Add your voice to the www.endhazingnow.com petition to end hazing and sexual violence on college and university campuses. Click here to sign the EndHazingNow Petition.