Sexual hazing refers to a group, club or team requiring potential initiates to undergo nonconsensual sexual acts as part of a ritual to be inducted as a new member. Sexual hazing is often based on humiliation, shame, pain, or tests of a subject’s physical and psychological limits. Sexual abuse that is disguised as a hazing ritual is still a heinous crime. If you are a victim of sexual hazing, seek help from the attorneys at DRZ Law.
How to Identify Sexual Hazing
Sexual hazing can encompass a wide range of sex crimes committed against victims by one or multiple people on behalf of a group or organization as part of a requirement for new recruits. Sexual hazing activities are most common among sports teams, school clubs and associations, and Greek Life (fraternities and sororities) at colleges and universities.
Sexually abusive acts that may be part of a hazing ritual include:
- Inappropriate touching of a victim’s private parts, including a female’s breasts
- Forced or coerced sexual acts, including oral copulation, penetration or intercourse
- Rape, gang rape, attempted rape, drug-induced rape or sodomy
- Forcing a pledge to sexually abuse or assault others
- Forced exposure of sexual organs
- Required participation in humiliating sex acts
- Binding, tying up or gagging a victim for the purpose of committing sexual acts
- Producing or distributing explicit photographs or videos of the victim
- Forced personal servitude of a sexual nature
- Physically abusive activities
Sexual hazing activities often represent an abuse of power by existing members of the organization. Oftentimes, perpetrators are people who were victims of sexual abuse and exploitation themselves as part of their own hazing ritual. This cycle is often perpetuated as a way for victims to make sense of or rationalize what happened to them.
What Are the Risks Associated With Sexual Hazing?
Sexual hazing – as well as other types of hazing rituals that involve pain, humiliation or health risks – is extremely dangerous for pledges. These barbaric rituals can inflict serious injuries, including broken bones, brain damage, burns and heat stroke. They can also take an immense emotional toll on a victim. Sadly, sexual hazing can be deadly in the most severe cases.
Sexual hazing can have many adverse effects on victims, such as:
- Physical injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Drug or alcohol poisoning
- Severe emotional distress
- Psychological trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Mental health disorders
- Low self-esteem or self-worth
- Chronic fear or anxiety
- Isolation or withdrawal
- Wrongful death
Any forced, coerced or drug-induced hazing activities of a sexual nature can constitute a sex crime under both Kansas and Missouri law. People who knowingly initiate or take part in these offenses can face criminal charges and penalties such as fines and jail time. Perpetrators of sexual hazing rituals can also face civil liability for a victim’s related injuries and losses.
Legal Action for Sexual Hazing
A victim of sexual hazing may be eligible for financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and other losses connected to the traumatic event. If you or your child is a victim of sexual hazing, help is available. At DRZ Law, our sexual abuse attorneys in Kansas will listen to your story and we will believe you. We can represent you during a claim or lawsuit against a school, sports organization or another party in pursuit of justice for the harm caused by sexual hazing. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.