I carry a black four-inch pocket knife
covered in roses in my boot,
And pink mini mace next to a white alarm
hung around my neck.
A year ago, I got scared of a dog
when it ran up on me and my friends.
And I screamed, being heard by all
four buildings around us.
And PD got called because
someone thought I was hurt.
I was told, “You’d never get hurt
with a pair of lungs like that.”
I am taught men are wild creatures
that can’t control themselves.
I never wore short skirts and low-cut tops,
I always wore comfy t shirts with jeans.
I never went to parties with my friends
Or took drinks from others
Because I was paranoid.
But it still happened.
It’s my fault I trusted you.
I went alone into your room unarmed.
It’s my fault I believed a pathological liar.
That I couldn’t stop you.
That I couldn’t scream.
That I froze.
All I could do was beg you to stop and cry.
It is your fault it happened.
I carry a four-inch fixed blade knife on my hip
And a pink bedazzled taser in my purse.
One day I’ll replace them with a neck knife
hanging under my shirt
And a .380 baby rock pistol
concealed on my side.
I keep guys at yard length.
Never go in rooms alone.
Never let my guard down even with friends
Because what if he has bad intentions too?
On college campuses around the nation, hazing is still prevalent, but is it as bad as it once was? Every year since 1970, there has been a reported death due to hazing according to the University of Connecticut’s Greek Life website. There are a lot of hazing cases that don’t get reported but are still harmful, causing physical and psychological damage.
What is hazing? According to Virginia law 18.2-56, hazing is defined as, “an abusive, often humiliating form of initiation into or affiliation with a group.”
According to the University of Michigan, 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing.
If someone were considered a pledge brother or sister, why would they be hazed? That’s the question Sigma Nu fraternity asked in “40 Answers To Common Excuses for Hazing” which took place on Twitter.
According to Tracy Maxwell, the executive director of HazingPrevention.org, it was huge success. There were 5,000 tweets in 40 days. Some popular excuses for hazing were “pledges have to pay their dues to become a brother or sister,” and “hazing weeds out those that who don’t really want to be there.” All 40 answers can be found here.
The most popular reason was that hazing is a tradition.
If fraternities and sororities think it’s OK, can it be stopped? Hazing expert and self-proclaimed international watchdog of hazing Hank Nuwer believes the way to stop hazing is for the underclassmen to snub thought of it. If students stood up and said that hazing isn’t acceptable and dangerous, it would stop itself.
Dr. Tracy Maxwell believes that to stop hazing, schools need to do something at the campus-wide level for every organization, until people really take a hard look at hazing.
According to the National Study of Student Hazing done by Dr. Elizabeth Allen and Dr. Mary Madden in 2006, 40% of Greek Life organization members admit knowledge of hazing activities. Allen believes hazing has become a social norm in social Greek Life organizations. Hazing is glorified in movies like Dazed and Confused, where the upcoming freshmen in high school get chased and hit with wooden paddles.
On many of the Greek Life organization’s websites, they explicitly state that hazing is not allowed and will not be tolerated. Is this a rule they stick to? Many students say no.
Sam Mason was a sophomore at Radford University in 2010 when he died because of ethanol poisoning. He was pledging Tau Kappa Epsilon and lost his life. Seven TKE brothers were later indicted and charged with hazing and supplying alcohol to an underage person.
“I feel a lot has ended due to the death of Sam Mason, but I believe hazing will never truly end,” said Senior Becca Barteau. “It is a tradition in most of Greek Life and I highly doubt it will ever end.”
Dr. Tod Burke, a Radford University professor of Criminal Justice, spoke about the dangers and effects of hazing on WSLS TV and National Public Radio in Roanoke, Va. in July 2011. He touched on the fact that anti-hazing laws tend to be relaxed until something tragic happens, and that’s when action is too late.
“Hazing can be prevented, but everyone involved has to take the right steps to make it stop,” he said. “It won’t just stop on it’s own.”