Recent news media reports have shed light on the hidden side of college life. They have exposed how secret practices of college fraternities have damaged or in some cases extinguished young promising lives. As fraternity hazing practices are leaving the shadows and coming into the light, more and more people are seeking compensation for the damages that these practices have caused. In many cases, fraternity hazing has led to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and forced individuals to abuse alcohol or other illicit substances.
Why Is Hazing a Problem?
Some look at hazing as a harmless part of college life. Boys will be boys they say. If it was only so innocent. The truth of the matter is that over the past few years, more than 50 people in the United States have died as a result of college hazing. The practices that take place in both fraternities and sororities have left people emotionally and physically scarred for life. It is not uncommon for the victims of hazing to report feeling emotionally disturbed, battling depression, and having physical scars, paralysis, and posttraumatic stress as a result of their abuse.
When colleges or the fraternities and sororities that allow or encourage this activity are confronted by the seriousness of college hazing, they deny everything. It is not uncommon for the famous “Code of Silence” to rear its ugly head. In addition to denying that a vicious hazing incident took place, these organizations will often actively engage in a cover-up, hiding facts and intimidating others to keep the truth of the situation quite. In some cases, fraternity and sorority members or pledges are forced to take an oath of fidelity and secrecy to the organization.
Types of Fraternity Hazing Abuse
Fraternity hazing is a process designed to humiliate and to embarrass the individual who is being hazed. Some forms of fraternity hazing include:
Sexual Abuse – There are no circumstances were anyone should be forced to endure sexual abuse in order to join or to prove loyalty to an organization. Unfortunately, in college fraternities, pledges are forced to endure despicable and degrading acts in the name of ritual. Sadly, the same rituals can be found in college sports teams as well.
Officials within fraternities or within sports groups turn a blind eye to the sexual abuse that college students face. In addition to harming students emotionally, at times the sexual abuse leads to physical harm. Both the state and federal government have taken steps to protect students from being the victims of sexual abuse from hazing while on the college campus.
Some examples of sexual abuse connected to college fraternities include:
Being Forced to Walk around Nude or to Expose Oneself
Being Forced to Perform Sexual Acts
Receiving Verbal Sexual Threats
Many pledges will endure these assaults in an attempt to prove that they belong in a particular fraternity or with the goal of getting accepted. No one deserves the humiliation, bodily harm, and emotional damage that fraternity sexual abuse causes.
Alcohol Abuse – This is another serious form of fraternity hazing. In some fraternities, acceptance into the group is dependent on a pledge’s ability to drink large amounts of alcohol. Some may think that if the hazing does not cause the person physical injury or does not leave them with alcohol poisoning, then it is not that big of a deal. They are wrong.
Forcing someone to drink too much alcohol, to drink when they are under age, or to drink alcohol when it goes against their individually held beliefs is not right. Pledges and fraternity members may find themselves forced to drink alcohol when in a casual setting or may be encouraged to play ritual drinking games against their will.
In addition to the physical and emotional damage that this type of pressure can cause, there are also the secondary consequences from being forced to drink. For example, if a person is intoxicated, it is more likely that they will be sexually abused. Additionally, if someone is forced to drink to the point where their health is in danger, it is likely that fraternity members will not seek appropriate medical care for that individual because they do not want their rituals exposed.
Physical Abuse – The physical abuse that results from fraternity hazing is designed to humiliate, embarrass, and subjugate pledges or new members. The vast majority of fraternity hazing physical abuse cases go unreported. Serious physical abuse puts the health and even the life of young college students at risk.
Examples of physical abuse include:
Forced to Walk around Nude
Forced to Consume Excessive Amounts of Food or Liquid
The Need to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
It takes a lot of courage for college student to stand up and to say that they were the victims of fraternity abuse. However, once they do stand up and voice their concerns, they have the right to have a personal injury attorney who will back them up and will give them the support they need in court as the accusations are investigated.
At the Doan Law Firm, we have years of experience fighting for the rights of victims of fraternity personal injuries. We know what help our clients need and get the compensation they deserve. We will fight vigorously for you. If you have been the victim of a fraternity related personal injury, contact us today. Our caring attorneys are standing by to help you with your case.