Hazing is generally defined as some type of humiliating or dangerous task used as a form of initiation into a group. Bullying is a broader term but defined among the same lines, meaning any types of threats, abuse, or aggression against an individual. According to Stop Hazing, more than half of college students in some type of group experience hazing at some point during their time with them. Meanwhile, the National Bullying Prevention Center reports that almost one out of every four students report being bullied during the school year.
One of the biggest issues America’s youth experiences is the phenomenon of hazing and bullying. However, these are not issues limited to adolescents. Many adults face hazing and bullying with their peers or colleagues in the workplace, too. It can cause various psychological disorders or even physical injuries.
At Mike Agruss Law, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been suffered from hazing or bullying, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Different Forms of Hazing and Bullying
Hazing, although it can apply to any type of group or organization, is often associated with initiation into a fraternity or sorority in colleges. It can take many forms, such as humiliating oneself in public, forcing someone to engage or to not engage in certain behaviors such as sleeping, drink deadly amounts of alcohol, verbal or physical abuse, and tolerating physical pain. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the forms that hazing can take.
Bullying is a more general term that may apply to more people. It is often associated with adolescents being bullied in school. It may consist of verbal abuse, physical abuse, aggressive teasing, public humiliation, degradation, undermining someone, ignoring someone, and spreading rumors about a person.
Common Effects of Hazing and Bullying
Hazing and bullying can be a traumatizing experience for a person, especially if it is experienced in someone’s youth. It can alter the way they behave, act, and think of themselves and others for the rest of their lives. It may also ruin their life if it includes rumors spread about a person or undermining their work, among other things. If it gets bad enough, the victim may even die as a result of relentless abuse. A few common effects of hazing and bullying include the following:
- Depression or anxiety
- Poorer performance in school or work
- Decreased self-esteem and confidence
- Hospitalization due to physical or psychological injury
- Major weight fluctuations
- Issues forming relationships or trust in others
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sleep disorders
Damages That Can Be Recovered
A person may endure bullying over a period of time because they cannot find a way out or no one is there to help them or stick up for them. The victim undoubtedly experiences the ramifications of bullying in the short-term as well as the long-term though. When pursuing a case against a person that has bullied or hazed you or a loved one, you have the potential to be compensated for what you went through and the losses that you endured. Some damages that can be recovered include:
- Medical expenses from treatments for physical or psychological abuse
- Lost wages if you were kept from your occupation due to the trauma that you faced
- Property damage if the bully or hazer destroys or ruins any of your possessions
- Pain and suffering for the bullying or hazing
- Emotional distress that was experienced during and following the incidents
- Punitive damages for the egregious nature of the bully’s or hazer’s conduct
- Loss of companionship or consortium if the abuse took a toll on your relationship
Punitive damages are given when the court finds that one acted recklessly or maliciously in their offense and it is meant to deter similar future behavior. They are generally not awarded often. However, in a case of abuse such as bullying or hazing, it may be awarded more often due to the very nature of the offense.
If you or a loved one has been injured from someone else’s hazing and bullying, contact our office today for a free consultation.