Hazing/Bullying: Duality of Physical Violence
William Jackson, M.Ed.
The issue of Hazing and Bullying has created a
new level of concern for parents sending their
children to college. The elevated incidence of
injuries and harm (physical,emotional, psychological)
and deaths of those falling victim
to the violence that is the result of inflicting
suffering and pain upon another person.
Bullying has many forms from verbal harassment,
sexual assaults (and favors), cyber threats and
physical attacks. All used to create an environment
of fear, trepidation and compliance to the
wishes of the tormentor(s). Hazing is the
execution of psychological manipulation, physical
violence and emotional persuasion to create
conditions of servitude (serving those who
execute hazing) and creating circumstances
of acceptance for violence and humiliation
to gain entrance into an organization.
The expectation of physical violence should
never be acceptable nor encouraged. Hazing
conditions have historically been present in
the educational systems of our schools, religious
groups (orders), military units, sports teams/
athletic organizations both male and female.
Hazing assaults and violence associated has been
documented in Greek organizations that emphasis
brotherhood and sisterhood to the degree of a
religious order and complete servitude to the
objectives and wishes of the organizations
statues and laws.
The Hazing ritual for entrance into an organization
has predated the 20th century educational and pro-
fessional advancements with the destruction of
independence to the denying of personal welfare
and safety. Some hazing has kept its medieval
assault techniques that border on
Human Rights Violations
The recent events not only with Florida A&M University
are seen at Dartmouth College (Ramer, H. toledoblade.com,
3/13/2012), University of Georiga (L. Shearer, March 03, 2010)
Vancouver, Wash. Heritage High School, (March 10th, 2012)
and other Colleges and Universities nationally. Even
though an unfortunate event as the death of a student
has occurred, not just at FAMU it should be noted
that, “hazing does not just happen on the campuses
of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,
but has happened in other higher educational
institutions and in high schools,” as stated by
S.C. State University President Dr. George E. Cooper.
The facts are that Hazing and Bullying are a duality
of physical violence (a twofold division in several
spiritual, religious, and philosophical doctrines)
in that you have organizations that emphasis brother-
hood and sisterhood, unity, love, obedience/respect
to elders and service to community, but in order to
gain entrance individuals are subjected to
humiliation, physical, mental, sexual and even
spiritual assaults. Many entering into organizations
are enticed by social acceptance, higher cultural
recognition, likeability, improved employment
opportunities and future professional growth.
Hazing and Bullying are not issues of color,
social stature, economics nor religion, it is
a tragedy of human violation that must be
investigated and those who feel it is necessary
should be re-educated (not just punished) to
the emotional and psychological damage that
Hazing and Bullying produces. When someone
is beaten, cursed, punished, their human rights
violated or restricted these are the same
elements of bullying and even can be categ-
orized as torture (The intentional infliction
of physical or mental suffering upon
an individual or individuals), Blacks should
know better having experienced centuries of
slavery, torture, violation of civil and
human rights. Why would Black continue this
against themselves for membership into a
Bullying and Hazing
Hazing can be seen as an organized and planned
form of Bullying. A difference between these
behaviors is bullying is an attempt to exclude
a person from activities. Hazing is often done
in an attempt to complete a rite of passage or
initiation into a group. Hazing is done to create
a sense of a bond between the person being hazed
and the person/group doing the hazing. The
Hazing process is even used to destroy or break
down the person(s) individuality and bring it
into compliance to the group ideologies and actions.
The expectations of schools and community organ-
izations are in need of being reeducated and
revamping of statues for entrance. Bullying and
Hazing can be lowered or ceased by empowering
students and adult leaders/role models with
positive alternatives that build relationships
into a stronger brotherhood or sisterhood.
Hyland (1928): found in research when joining
armies, fraternal organizations, political
movements, or religious orders, new members must
frequently be separated from aspects of their past
lives and formally embrace the mission and beliefs
of the new association. The rites and actions
involved, qualitatively similar to humiliation
rituals, are termed hazing or aggressive conversion.
Differences in Hazing
Hazing differs from Bullying in that the person
agrees to the humiliation that is initiative.
This agreement allows the attempt to break a
person’s will and to change their mental accep-
tance of violence, humiliation and self denial
of choice to gain entrance into an organization.
Chidley (1995) cited such activities for Hazing
as sleep deprivation, public nudity, childish
pranks, drunkenness, gross racial slurs, beatings,
partial drowning, starvation and other activities.
These in definition are Violation of Human Rights
that are denied actions even during war as stated
by the United Nations.
Hazing Among Students
A considerable amount of hazing continues to
occur in schools and school-related programs
(Chidley, 1995; Plummer, 1993). Educators must
consider carefully their stance toward any hazing
that has become traditional in their settings.
Although mild ritualistic behaviors, handled sen-
sitively, may aid the development of a sense of
belonging, these rites also possess tremendous
potential to hurt and cause long lasting mental
and emotional damage. Women fair no easier, the
worst form of hazing is unwanted sexual touches,
forcing sex with one or multiple partners. These
are forms of physical Bullying and Hazing experienced
by females (AAUW, 1993; Shakeshaft et al., 1986).
True to life, women have become pregnant because of
forced sexual intercourse during hazing carrying
the child to term and giving birth. In many cases
the male is not required to provide child support
because of the sacrifice by the women to be a member
of an organization.
There needs to be discussion on actions that are
dehumanizing and human violations when talking
about Hazing and Bullying. Such discussions can be
appropriate as part of core subjects taught in
classrooms that focus on the rights of the individual.
Novels can be used to direct discussion, such novels
as The Lords of Discipline (Conroy, 1980), and Lord
of the Flies (Golding, 1954) can generate useful
discussions about hazing.
Added education helps schools understand the degree
to which seemingly harmless hazing traditions lend
themselves to bullying on the one hand or to group
loyalty and unity on the other hand. Students should
be brought into this discussion if change is going to
be made. To create a Bully/Hazing free environment it
is paramount that we educate teachers, students and
parents about the prevalence and consequences.