The concept of Hidden Harm has to do with the fact that we don't know everything about the newest members of our organizations. We don't even know EVERYTHING about our best friends. Someone who has just joined an organization or team could have a hidden background that would make them highly susceptible to serious repercussions if hazed. Hazing can be physically or psychologically harmful to even perfectly healthy individuals, but mix hazing with any one of numerous issues individuals may be dealing with, and the damage can increase exponentially.
What kinds of things are we talking about with hazing?
Consider the "baggage" that today's students can bring with them to high school or college. Have you dealt with or do you know anyone who: Suffers from depression or another mental health issue? Has served in the military - been in a war zone? Been sexually assaulted? Comes from an alcoholic family? Has suffered the loss of a friend or family member? Has had an alcohol or other addiction? Has attempted or seriously considered suicide? Is on medication or has been in counseling for a mental health disorder? Has been abused physically or emotionally? Has been hazed or bullied before? All of the above backgrounds - as well as countless others we can't even imagine, much less know about - could puts someone at higher risk of being re-traumatized through hazing. The book Goat, by Brad Land, describes the car-jacking in which the author was tied up, put in the trunk of his car, beaten and driven around for hours in fear of his life, only to have his attackers dump him in a ditch in the middle of nowhere. A short time later, Land joined a college fraternity where he was brutally hazed. One of his pledge brothers committed suicide because of the experience, and Land suffered post-traumatic stress symptoms in which the faces of his "brothers" and those of his car-jackers became interchangeable. Click here to download an article about Hidden Harm by Travis Apgar and Ross Szabo, two well-known speakers on hazing and mental health issues. Below you can watch three video clips further explaining Hidden Harm. Presenters are the two speakers mentioned above, as well as T.J. Sullivan, another nationally-known speaker on Greek Life issues. All three video clips total about 25 minutes in length.