Fraternity hazing, a concern for everyone

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By Fe San Juan Hidalgo

Citizen Fe

Monday, July 14, 2014

NEWSPAPERS, TV, and radio, as well as the internet are filled with news about the fraternity hazing incident involving neophytes of Tau Gamma Phi fraternity members from St. Benide College of De La Salle University. The reports vividly showed how the initiation rites resulted in the tragic death of a promising 18-year-old student, an only son.

All citizens are one in their reaction. This is unthinkable, despicable, and disheartening. My heart goes out to the parents and sisters, who are beside themselves with grief and unanswered questions about this. Why did this happen? Their son was reminded about not joining any fraternity. It seems that peer pressure, short of coercion and threat, forced their son to join. I need not repeat in detail the whole story here. It was bannered in trimedia accounts.

In brief, the initiation started in a private residence in Makati of one of the "masters." The hazing was done here. The torturing procedure could be imagined by looking at all evidences in this house unearthed by the government investigators. Drugs, empty liquor bottles, bloodied paddles, and wooden planks. The place was in disarray. The windows were covered with tarpaulin to hide from view what is happening inside the house. All of these evidences clearly showed the horror of the hazing.


After the hazing, one "master" who owns a condo unit near La Salle decided to transfer the neophytes who were by then worn off and badly battered to the point of exhaustion. They were taken to a room on the top floor. They were being dragged, especially the one who died, into the room. A very pitiable scene is seen when the limp body of victim was being dragged until he lost consciousness and died. Help was sought for by one witness. Help came and the first aid tried to help but it was too late. The victim's father was in tears watching the video clips after he recovered from the initial shock about the death of his son. No person seeing all these despicable acts will not feel angry and determined to do something to stop this once and for all. We still remember all the other promising young men who died due to fraternity hazing. All their parents are on TV expressing their regret about unresolved cases of their sons' deaths. One was resolved recently after a 20-year wait and the guilty ones are now nowhere to be found. All of us must do our part to stop hazing.

I peruse books on the origin of Fraternities and the Sororities in the universities. They are honored, dignified, and selected groups of students who excel in school. The honorable distinctions expected from genuine members of Frats and Sororities somehow does not support the demeaning tortures and punishment in hazing. This is an oxymoron. Fora and debates are held by concerned schools and also government agencies. The people are for and against abolishing these groups all together or preserve the groups and make hazing as a punishable offense.

Personally, I am for maintaining the groups and pushing for the act to make hazing a criminal offense. This is the correct solution. We have to maintain the august members of fraternities and sororities in our professional, political, and citizens' groups. They are here for posterity, a pride for our nation.

I am a sorority member of Alpha Sigma Epsilon sorority of the University of Sto. Tomas College of Education Class 1952. I cherish this. My initiation was a far cry from what is happening now. I was told by my master to wear black shoes with high heels matched with sports socks. My hair was gathered into a bun above my head and a long pencil was stuck to the bun. Then, I was given a big black rimmed eyeglass to wear. Lastly, I was given a basket of "balut" eggs to peddle around the campus shooting, "Balut!" I was the laughing stock of the students in the campus. Yes, embarrassing me, no end was the rite. Inside our classroom I was blindfolded and ordered to crawl under all the chairs, 20 in all, scattered inside the room. The last test, still blind folded, I was told to dip my hand in a basin filled with squirming "worms." Yucky! My blindfold was removed. Wow! I imagined myself like a mouse finding its way in a puzzle. The worms turned out to be pieces of cooked spaghetti. You see, it was all fun. My only daughter is a sorority member too in UP, 1980's. Riding in our car, she sat close to me and exclaimed "Ouch!" then pushed me farther. Why? I asked her. She had to tell the truth. At home, she showed me marks of lashes like hematoma, the results of beating by a paddle by her master. She had the tell tale marks on her flawless legs and buttocks. I understood.

The hazing in fraternities must be stopped. These masters must be sick in the mind, psychologically abnormal. They need psychiatric treatment. They have no place in an honorable society. I hope the law is enacted before we lose more innocent victims of death through hazing. For comments, text cellphone number 09202112534.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 15, 2014.


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