More than a decade and a half ago, I have penned a short story about a father’s lament and grieve over his son’s death in hazing. At the same time, it was quickly mentioned in a poem about father’s planning and dreams for his only son that preempted by hazing. I just cannot help but to recollect these stories to have the same feeling back again every time I heard today’s news about death of a young student because of hazing. Now, I am writing it again.
First and foremost, I do not condemn fraternities, sororities and other forms of solidarity groups. Fraternities and sororities, particularly those famed and distinguished, are indeed good associations. They serve as platform to enable the members to exercise the full growth of their personality, learn and value friendship, discipline and loyalty aside from expressing their common interests, activities and purpose. Solidarity groups illustrate true camaraderie, unity, respect, trust, and acceptance. To become member of distinguished frats is an honor for almost its members are well-renowned persons such as doctors, lawyers, businessmen, politicians and any one from every walk of life thus it immediately offer connection, broader social network, career opportunities and community involvement. Such groups help us in many things and many ways. What I don’t feel right in some known groups is the kind of barbaric, brutal and bloody hazing during the initiation rites that becomes venue of violence and doesn’t look humane anymore.
To be able to join in these groups, the recruited member has to undergo the initiation as welcoming them. In the traditional and distinguished groups, several forms of unoffending initiations in the series of trials are executed to promote the bond amongst every member. However in today’s time especially those street frats, it evolved in a wide variety of techniques and rituals of initiation that involves harassment, abuse and humiliation where one of these is hazing as way of inducting the newcomers. Accordingly during the hazing, the neophytes shout the name of the group while executing the physical pain. This is to instill in each member’s heart the importance and sacredness of the group. When the hazing is over, the neophytes and the old members are then sharing something in common by experiencing the hazing as part of a rite to passage. If this is the very idea of the worsening kind of initiation, then what kind of solidarity group has formed and sprouted in the heart and mind of its members thru physical harm? Literally, it becomes a group of sadists and masochists that will not end and will even get worse through the coming of times that will be passed on to the next generation/batches.
“Hazing” is not the gauge to test the person’s word of honor and loyalty. Landing hands to hurt someone is no one business and always wrong. Back in times, frats are good when they existed with purposes and go whatever causes they advocate that make them respected. But today, there are quite many societal old and new groups who are not only after the connection but mainly for protection and defense when the need arises. It turns to be underworld groups that are known in school campuses, university belt and streets that both students and out of school youth are talking secretly. Frats should keep its integrity that pride themselves on academic performance, community service, leadership development and other accomplishment. But instead, most of this infamous hazing tainted the group that very seldom we heard what’s up about their achievement, sympathy to the needy, and contribution to the society. We heard the active participation of a brotherhood who is engaged in helping distress overseas workers, some can rely in emergency, volunteering in times of calamities, etc., but these groups that are just after the pleasure of inflicting pain of the initiation are just felt when there is controversial hazing.
Fraternities and sororities are good that should not abolish. They provide means of building personal ties that last a lifetime however, it seems that some fraternity leaders don’t care enough to protect their members against the abusive initiation practices. With the recent negative news about the tradition ceremony of initiation, it needs to regulate the hazing but not the fraternities and sororities.
By Alex V. Villamayor
July 22, 2014