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What is Hazing?

Hazing is the term used to represent an activity that someone who wants to join a group must endure to become a member. Years ago, these practices were regarded as “initiations” and were fairly harmless. Today, hazing has become an activity that generally involves humiliation which puts the individual who is being hazed into a situation where he or she may be emotionally or physically harmed.


Hazing is sometimes done to individuals who are not even trying to join a club, but who are just considered new. Many of the activities done to another as a form of hazing can be criminal in nature. Other activities may not be criminal, but they may be a form of mind control.

Types of Hazing

Hazing can be grouped into three main categories: subtle, harassment and violent.

Subtle Hazing is usually the most “harmless” form of hazing. Subtle hazing can involve assigning demerits to a rookie, denying privileges to a new member, keeping new members isolated from older members, making new members perform chores or activities that are not required of older members, making new members address older members with respectful titles, and using taunts or disrespectful names for new members.

Harassment Hazing will usually cause emotional and/or physical distress or pain to a new member. Harassment hazing generally involves a new member being verbally abused, threatened and/or humiliated. New members may be required to perform servitude to other members. New members may be sleep deprived and be kept from keeping their bodies clean. These hazing practices may also involve the new member wearing humiliating attire.

Violent Hazing is the most extreme form of hazing. It often brings great emotional and physical harm to an individual. In severe cases, violent hazing can cause death. This form of hazing can include a new member being forced to consume heavy amounts of drugs or alcohol. It can also include the new member being beaten, branded, burned, or sleep deprived. The new member may also be subjected to extreme weather conditions without protection. Sexual abuse can even occur.

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