You’ve probably heard plenty about people who experienced trauma in their pasts. Often, when people experience trauma or when they witness a traumatic event, it has psychological effects and it manifests in different ways. In fact, a trauma in a person’s life can manifest physically and psychologically, and it can have long-lasting effects Sometimes, the effects are debilitating and they affect the person’s quality of life, work, and personal relationships.
“Hidden harm” is a common term that refers to the effects of trauma in someone’s life. Hidden harm can be the result of a variety of past traumatic experiences, such as hazing, child abuse, sexual abuse, violence, war, watching someone get killed, and growing up in a family afflicted by alcoholism. Below, we discuss the hidden harm that can result from hazing and how it can impact a victim’s life.
Hazing: Physical & Psychological Trauma
Hazing can be a very traumatic experience for someone, both physically and psychologically. Often, hazing has resulted in utter embarrassment, humiliation, and serious injuries. It’s not unusual to hear about hazing through rumors, the sharing of personal stories, or the headlines when it involved torture, life-threatening situations, alcohol poisoning, or death.
There have been countless stories (all true) of hazing incidents that involved brutal beatings, traumatic brain injuries, and hospitalizations. Sometimes, the hazing was a well-guarded secret until someone was hospitalized because their life was hanging by a thread.
Aside from physical trauma, psychological trauma from hazing can be just as serious. While the psychological effects of hazing may not make the news, the negative psychological effects of hazing can last a long time, both for the victim and their families. These effects may include the following:
- Poor grades
- Withdrawal from activities
Previous trauma in a person’s life can greatly enhance the negative effects of hazing. If someone joins a fraternity, sorority, sports team, or organization and he or she has experienced trauma in their past, it can make them extremely vulnerable if they are hazed in the present. While hazing can be dangerous to a perfectly healthy individual, it can be devastating to someone who already has PTSD from a previous traumatic event in their life.
For example, if the “pledge” has already been the victim of child sexual abuse, has lost a family member, has alcoholism in their family, is a victim of domestic violence, has been bullied before, or has seriously considered suicide, the hazing can send them “over the edge.” Any previous trauma in a person’s life, as you can imagine, can put them at a high risk of being traumatized if they are hazed.