Georgia Hazing Injury Lawyer
It’s brushed off by some institutions as harmless fun, but hazing often involves harassment, abuse or humiliation to initiate someone into a group. And it can have devastating consequences for the person being hazed and their family, potentially causing long-term disabilities, PTSD, or even death. Hazing isn’t always limited to fraternities or sororities, sometimes athletes are hazed when joining a new team, children are hazed when entering a new school, or even college students who aren’t a part of Greek life might experience hazing when trying to join a new club.
BBGA’s hazing injury attorneys are dedicated to giving a voice to youth who have experienced hazing and helping families who have lost a loved one due to hazing and abuse. Hazing is an atrocious form of coercion and abuse of power, and we’re determined to hold the correct people responsible when it has lasting consequences for families and the person being hazed.
What is Hazing?
The definition of hazing is the practice of rituals, challenges or other activities that may involve humiliation, harassment, or abuse as a way of initiating someone into a group, team or club.
Fraternity Hazing in Georgia
Fraternities and sororities can unfortunately become a breeding ground for hazing. Greek life culture can be stressful for college students who are trying to socially fit in somewhere. Many times, students will submit themselves to forms of abuse or torture during the pledge period (time period where current members determine whether they want a new member to join) all in the name of receiving a bid of acceptance. Pledge periods can last anywhere from a couple of days to several months.
Most fraternities and sororities are also considered secret societies and pledges who are initiated into the group often go through elaborate, secret rituals. This culture of secrecy combined with a pledges desire to belong can sometimes become a hotbed for hazing. And because the abuse or coercion is synonymous with acceptance, and pledges are often demanded to keep the organizations rituals strictly confidential, it rarely gets reported.
Furthermore, because it’s peers rather than authority figures doling out the orders, students, parents and professors are less likely to realize the dangers associated with the hazing and may pass it off as a rite of passage.
Types of Hazing
Hazing can involve ridicule, humiliation, coercion and outright abuse. Some of the most common forms of hazing can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Excessive or forced alcohol consumption
- Forced drug consumption
- Beating (may include paddling, branding, burning, or various forms of assault)
- Wearing humiliating clothes
- Performing humiliating acts
- Name calling
- Depriving privileges
- Verbal abuse
- Sleep deprivation
- Exposure to extreme weather without proper attire
- Public nudity
- Forced to commit a crime
- Forced or coerced sex acts or sexual simulations
While some hazing acts may be more violent than others, all can have a lasting effect on an individual who’s victimized.
A National Hazing Study conducted by StopHazing.org in 2008 documented that problems related to student hazing include both physical and psychological harm, and sometimes even death. The research is based on the analysis of 11,482 survey responses from undergraduate students enrolled at 53 colleges and universities in the U.S. and more than 300 interviews with students and campus personnel at 18 of those institutions. The study found that:
- More than half of college students involved in organizations, clubs and teams experience some form of hazing
- 47% of students had experienced hazing before coming to college
- Common hazing practices include alcohol consumption, isolation, humiliation, sleep deprivation, and sex acts
- Hazing occurs across a wide range of student groups, not just Greek-letter organizations
According to Franklin College Journalism Professor and Author Hank Nuwer, there has been at least one university hazing death each year from 1969 to 2017, more than 200 university hazing deaths since 1838, with 40 deaths between 2007 and 2017 alone. Alcohol poisoning is the biggest cause of death.
The Effects of Hazing
The consequences of hazing can be severe. Mental, emotional and psychological abuse has been linked to a myriad of mental disorders. Violent hazing has led to permanent disabilities and even death. The devastating effects can alter a victim or victim’s family for life.
Hazing may lead to:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Symptoms may include vivid memories of trauma with intense physical reactions)
- Loss of sense of control
- Trouble with relationships with friends, family, and significant other
- Lack of trust
- Eating Disorders
- Mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Lack of concentration
- Repeatedly going over thoughts/remembering abuse
- Weight fluctuation
- Brain damage
- Broken bones
- Cuts or bruising
- Alcohol poisoning
If you suspect you’re a victim of hazing or you suspect your loved one is experiencing hazing, its crucial you have an experienced hazing attorney working for you. Our Georgia Hazing Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the legal system, hold the correct people and organizations responsible, and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Hazing often leads to necessary medical treatment and counseling and our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring you’re compensated for your medical expenses, lost time at school or work, and for your pain and suffering. Contact us today at (706) 354-4000 or fill out our case review form. Your initial consultation is free, and we work on a contingency basis, which means you only pay us if we win your case.
BBGA helps hazing victims across the State of Georgia and has offices in Athens, Atlanta, and Lake Oconee.
If you suspect criminal activity or severe abuse, or you’re currently being violently hazed, call police immediately to report it. If you’re part of a group or organization and you’ve witnessed hazing, report it to your university or to police. Your diligence could save someone’s life.