Hazing can happen to anyone, at any point in one's membership experience.
If you're feeling uncomfortable with what you're being asked to do to join or maintain membership in a group, answering YES to any of the following questions may indicate hazing:
- Are activities causing you emotional or physical distress?
- Could pictures of this activity keep you from getting a job?
- Would you feel uncomfortable if your family was watching?
- Are there penalties for disclosing group secrets?
Check out this Gordie Center video for more information about what to do if you're being hazed:
What can you do if you're being hazed?
Hazing can happen to anyone, and you are not alone. If you're being hazed, here are some things you can do:
- Check in with other members (or potential members) of your group to see if they are concerned, too. It's likely that others are uncomfortable, too.
- Speak up. Take a stand against hazing with others who also refuse to be hazed. There is power in numbers!
- Stay connected with friends and family outside the group. They can provide perspective on what you are experiencing, and give you the support you need. If you feel comfortable sharing what you're going through, remember that you have a right to tell others about those experiences, even if you've been asked to keep things a secret. The more information your friends and family have, the more they can support you.
- Refuse to participate in activities that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. You can either state your refusal to be hazed openly, or use an excuse to get out of an activity. Saying "I'm sick" or "I need to go home this weekend" can help remove you from hazing.
- Talk confidentially with someone at your counseling center, or with your healthcare provider, to help you determine how to handle what is happening.
- Leave the group and look for another group that is more in line with your values. Walking away is hard and takes strength and integrity -- you are not weak for leaving a dangerous situation. You may inspire others who wanted to leave but did not want to go alone.
- Report hazing to your school to prevent it from happening to others.
- Call 911 if you think you are in danger. Protect your own health and safety, and make sure you don't leave anyone in a situation that may be dangerous to themselves or others.