I am not a guy … and will never be one. (Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing will be for history to decide.)
I do have friends who are males; and my bestfriend in the whole world possesses an X and a Y chromosome. Most of what I know about maleness, I learned from him, so if my ideas are wrong, he is probably to blame 🙂
Full disclosure: my bestfriend (the one who has the XY chromosome) went through such a practice himself and survived. So, that is my bias.
The thing is:
- There is a term called “informed consent.” And while the concept has been originally applied to medical procedures that will be done on a patient, the idea as a metaphor can apply in this case.
- People who enter fraternities are assumed to be adults (fraternities are banned in high schools and people below 18 are not allowed to join by the college).
- Adults are presumed to know what they want.
- It is not a big secret that initiation rites that may/may not involve hazing happen in fraternities. Like, hello, I may have been a naive ignorant virgin at 22 but even I knew that when my then boyfriend said he was paddled, it didn’t mean that they went kayaking.
- The adult neophyte was not bullied into joining, not coerced, not forced in any way — at least ideally that should be the case. Systemic factors may come into consideration like, some fields (dare I say Law School?) may have the reputation among undergrads that say “success in later career will be determined by being a Greek or non-Greek”, hence the pressure. But still, hey you are an adult, and a law student at that, and you caved in to peer pressure and allowed yourself to be humiliated and physically molested when you didn’t want to? What kind of lawyer will you turn out to be? I mean, just saying.
- This is where my data is hazy: the neophyte, can say “no” at anytime during the hazing process.
Now if you are wondering, why I kept blabbing about hazing when the title of my article is about consensual sex. Then read this:
I have never seen, for the life of me, an argument in a hazing case that goes like this: “Neophyte was asking to die by getting into an organization that he knows involves an initiation rite where other guys will paddle him to death.”
In conclusion: the correct question during a trial investigating hazing where a victim died is “did, at any point in time, he say no?”