On Hazing

Physical and psychological abuse and violence should not have room in any organization or institution nor should it be used to measure brotherhood and camaraderie. There other less or not physically or psychologically exhausting of "testing" people who wish to join fraternities, sororities, organizations and institutions. 

I am dedicating this article especially for one topic: Hazing.

Events of recent days, in particular the unfortunate death of Cadet Darwin Dormitorio due to alleged hazing done to him by his upperclassmen at the Philippine Military Academy and the video of an alleged case of hazing involving one of the fraternities at the University of the Philippines, with one of those being accused of taking part in the act found dead at his home in Quezon City, caused some people to ask me about my opinion on hazing, fraternities or sororities and the like.

Unknown to many, I am a frat man. I had my share of the Greek life during my student years at the University of the Philippines. I still cherish the brotherhood and friendship that I have with my brods despite the fact that I have chosen to be inactive by choice, especially after graduating from college and focusing mainly on my professional work. I attend gatherings from time to time but I still remain to be low profile, quiet and inactive.

In the Bible (Matthew 22:14), Jesus said the famous line, "Many are called, but few are chosen." The same line applies to all organizations, including fraternities and sororities, and institutions such as the Philippine Military Academy and the University of the Philippines. That is the reason why people who wish to become a part of these organizations and institutions are being tested to see whether or not they are a good fit, and why standards for admission are formulated and being implemented.

In the process of "testing" potential members, it is unfortunate that isolated incidents of extreme physical and even psychological violence occur. These incidents fall under hazing, which is a criminal act under the laws of the Philippines. Several young individuals either died or have been severely injured, and others put to jail and their lives wasted as a result of cases of hazing happening in various institutions.

There is often public outrage whenever the media reports incidents of hazing or alleged hazing. However, it will be unfair to brand all fraternities, sororities, organizations and institutions are pure evil only because of those isolated cases. It will also be illogical to call for an outright ban on fraternities, sororities and organizations as a way of preventing hazing because doing so will go against the Constitutional freedom of assembly.

We must also admit the fact that constantly monitoring fraternities, sororities, organizations and institutions to completely prevent cases of hazing from occurring is easier said than that. While there is an Anti-Hazing Law, it failed to create a new agency or designate an existing government entity that is tasked of doing monitoring work. This simply means that the institutions from where the fraternities, sororities and organizations operate from have to do the monitoring by themselves, which is, realistically speaking, difficult due to personnel and resources limitations, and the possibility that the groups may do their activities underground to evade scrutiny and monitoring by authorities.

While I believe in the need to "test" people's willingness to become a part of an organization or an institution, going to the extreme that will result to physical and psychological harm is and will always be wrong. However, reality tells us that the only way to stop hazing is by the organization or the institution policing itself, in particular coming up with a new set of standards that will "test" individuals without resorting to the extreme that can cause physical or psychological harm. Fraternities, sororities, organizations and institutions can only gain the trust of the majority of people if they will do exactly that. 

Physical and psychological abuse and violence should not have room in any organization or institution nor should it be used to measure brotherhood and camaraderie. There other less or not physically or psychologically exhausting of "testing" people who wish to join fraternities, sororities, organizations and institutions. Doing so will not only make those who will successfully make it have fun during the process but will cherish the fraternity of everyone from within the group.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TheLOBBYiST.
About the Author
Benedict is an agricultural economist, academician and writer. He has gained experience and expertise in various fields of economics, business, political science and public relations after through professional ventures in the academe, and in the public and private sectors. He has authored or co-authored key publications on topics ranging from agriculture and food security to global affairs and politics.
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