When rites become wrongs

OK. So it happens everywhere. Hazing has long been considered a rite of passage, part of tradition, harmless horseplay, or simply a means of bonding in the military, in college fraternities and sororities, and in sports teams.

Several recent incidents — one, for example, in Glenview, Illinois, and one at a football camp in Pennsylvania — show that hazing rituals have not only become more prevalent among high-school students (both boys and girls), but the acts themselves have grown more malicious, sadistic, and sexually oriented. And when some witness or victim has the courage to speak out, investigators find it increasingly difficult to crack the secret society of the locker room.

I am convinced, however, that the choices young people want to make are not at the mercy of crowd mentality. As a keen rugby player in South Africa, I once took my share of physical abuse. I still vividly remember the pain of those rituals, and the added humiliation and resentment for me as a teetotaler when young men twice my size forced alcohol "down the hatch."

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Testimony of Healing
Skin condition healed
November 3, 2003

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