Hazing season

Remember how torture apologists tried to dismiss the Abu Ghraib torture by calling it hazing?

College professor Aspazia has a very powerful post about the psychological toll that hazing takes on her students:

Yes, it's back. A student is collapsed in tears on the floor of my office. This scene is all too familiar. She is watching her sorority haze the new pledges and she is disgusted. Why? Well, because she knows that what they are doing is flat out mental abuse. She remembers how much this experience scarred her. And, on top of that, she is watching the woman, who was most victimized by hazing last year, now relish in her new position as pledge master.

I am not supposed to know this stuff, by the way. If I were to unveil who told me this and what she told me, I would be setting her up for abuse from her sisters. They are already abusing her. They tell her that she is just plain crazy for complaining about hazing practices: "lighten up, relax, stop being such a whiner." And, so she sits in my office and asks me if she is crazy. No, I say. You are just in the midst of crazy behavior and you are the one sane person trying to expose it; they can't afford for you to do so; they need to neutralize you.
I am helpless to stop the madness. Moreover, I know that it is destroying everything we try to teach these students at my liberal arts college. Every hope that they will be good citizens, participating in a democracy, wherein coercion and fascism are anathemas, is undermined by hazing.
Aspasia's essay illustrates how abusive systems brutalize everyone involved, whether they're the targets of abuse, or the perpetrators, or both.

[Melancholic Feminista]


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