Many girls will do anything to get into a sorority . But is their safety the price they pay to enter the sisterhood?
A 19-year-old female college student ran to police after enduring what she said were violent and difficult hazing rituals, the NY Post reports. Courtney, a Hofstra University student, claims the Long Island school's Phi Ep sorority hazing included sitting for seven hours in the same position with other pledges and being branded in the groin area with a hot fork. Courtney also says when she decided to depledge the sorority, they shoved her head into a wall and threatened "to kill me and to slit my throat."
The sorority is fighting back, writing a letter to the school accusing, "this girl was not only a liar but a problem, consistently harassing our sisters." Was Courtney a victim or just a big time trouble maker?--we don't know, but someone's lying.
We asked friend of momlogic and licensed marriage and family therapist Shannon Fox why some girls will do anything to belong--even if it means putting her own well being on the line--and for tips to talk to daughters before they pledge a sorority.
- Talk to your teen about hazing. Ask her what she thinks about what happened to the girl from Hofstra. What about the other pledges who stayed? Ask her what she thinks she would do if she was in the same hazing situation.
- Encourage her interest in many activities. College teens who have support outside a sorority are less likely to put up with hazing. Encourage your daughter to seek out groups with similar interests to her own: intramural sports, religious/cultural, theater, etc.
- Get to know the girls before joining. Encourage her to see if they have spring rush or to wait a year to get to know some of the girls in various sororities before making a commitment.
- Suggest that she does research. Tell her to ask around campus about the reputations of the different sororities. Not everything she hears will be true, but if she notices the same themes coming up, there is likely some validity. Do students say the girls are mean? Elitist? Drunks? Any hazing stories?
- Only go with national sororities. If she is set on pledging a sorority, make sure it is a national sorority that answers to a board. There is more accountability for their actions if they have national rules and standards.
- Tell her to be on guard. Coach her to be on alert for any emotional/mental abuse: do they embarrass her in front of others? Tease or belittle her? Threaten her with bodily harm? Put her down for her race or religious beliefs? If she ever feels slightly uncomfortable, she should leave and call you or campus authorities (depending on the severity of the abuse).
- Be her support: And, of course, let her know that if she chooses to pledge a sorority and finds herself in a bad hazing situation, you will be there to support her--even if it means a plane ride to get to her.