Hazing and Its Effects on the Military University Name Hazing and Its Effects on the Military Introduction Belonging to a group is one of the cherished aspects of human society. We all want to feel a belonging and a connection to a set of people that become our brothers and sisters in this life…
The military is no exception. While most branches of the U.S. Military have a policy specifically forbidding hazing, it does still occur in many locations. Boot camp is designed to weed out new recruits and to strengthen those who remain. This is the ritual and tradition that the military wants to be proud of. They do not want to be known as being similar to a fraternity that focuses on humiliating and degrading any person who simply desires to become a part of the group. The Marines, for example, are focusing on efforts to educate its members on what hazing is and is not. Hazing, by definition, does not have to involve physical contact. If a person is verbally abused, or suffers emotional distress, hazing could be taking place. Since the military has received bad press in recent years about the hazing that is taking place within its ranks, it is important to study the issue from an objective point of view. The issues that need to be looked at involve the reputation of the military, the harm that can be done as a result of hazing, and the public’s perception on what the role of the military should be. Hazing Defined The commonly accepted belief as to what defines hazing is that it is the process whereby a new or potential recruit to the military, a college fraternity, a sports team, or other tradition based group is forced to perform strenuous, humiliating, or dangerous tasks. Sometimes the participants give their permission to take part in the activities, while other times the actions are performed without their explicit approval. This can be a problem due to the dangerous effects this can have on a recruit’s psyche, not to mention the damage that can be done to the organization as a whole. This problem is the focus of this brief study. Many universities, organizations, and military institutions have policies against hazing. Such policies usually prohibit actions that “recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endanger the mental, physical, or emotional health of a recruit [or student/group member]” (Cimino, 2011, p. 241). Activities that are usually including in such hazing prohibition policies include any action that creates a risk of injury to any individual or group. They would also tend to prohibit any activity that causes discomfort or embarrassment to a person or group of people. Furthermore, hazing policies are designed to prohibit the harassment, degradation, humiliation, or ridicule of an individual or group. This certainly seems to encompass a great many actions and activities that often take place in a group or organization, but they are designed to protect people from physical or emotional harm. Even with these policies in place, however, we know that hazing still exists and is perhaps just as prevalent today as it was a few decades ago. Many veteran members of a group or military institution do not see hazing as harmful because they survived it themselves. They see it as a rite of passage, if you will, to membership in a given group. What many fail to realize, however, is that the consequences can be disastrous in more than just a few isolated cases. A person that is victimized by hazing can begin to suffer from physical or mental instability. They can be denied sleep and lose all sense of control and empowerment. If at a university or military academy, prolonged periods of hazing can cause an individual to lose interest in their academic work, thereby causing a steep decline in their ...
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