I’m telling my story for two reasons. First, I believe that many hazing incidents are similar to my experience. For most organizations, hazing plays a minor role in a much larger association and is not comparable to the extreme cases seen on the news. Yet, although it is difficult to identify at the time, hazing of any kind has the potential to be damaging to everyone involved. My story illustrates some of the risks associated with hazing and particularly aims to highlight the repercussions that you might not expect.

A play by Hank Nuwer

While Hank Nuwer retains the copyright on his play The Broken Pledge, he freely allows individuals or groups to put on performances–whether free of charge or for admission. He believes the theatrical experience may cause people to be moved and to change behaviors such as hazing.

And so this was the call I least expected but it was and is my worst nightmare.  This was the call I learned my dear son was badly injured and was told by the ER doctor I should make my plans to fly up immediately. I was shocked when I saw him lying in the hospital already on life support. There he was helpless and I laid my head on his chest and cried and couldn’t believe this was happening. He was in this situation because of senseless hazing. Call it what you want, it’s not fun and games when someone gets hurt and loses his life so young; my son wasn’t even 20 years old. My family flew in and we were together and had to make that gut wrenching decision to take him off of life support.

Delta Chi is opposed to hazing. We wish we could say that it doesn’t “work.” Unfortunately, it often does. Although the Stockholm syndrome and even cognitive dissonance come to mind, there is no sense in trying to debate why here. Suffice it to say that it simply has far too many negative side effects. True, minor hazing does not have the same risks as major hazing does. Whatever “minor” or “major” means. The problem with hazing is the paradigm it is based on. Until that is corrected, it will only continue. And it will probably get worse!