Recently, in the wake of what happened to Marc Andrei Marcos of San Beda College in the Philippines, a neophyte who requested not to be named, elaborated on his ordeal.
Hitting a neophyte in his buttocks is known as standard practice in frat initiations. But the group Fratboy Alumnus joined also played it smart. They found ways to inflict pain without getting into trouble. The fraternity realized that it was a bad idea to use baseball bats or iron pipes because “that risked breaking the neophyte’s legs,” Fratboy Alumnus said.
Instead, they used paddles. “The master swings the paddle with the full force of swinging a baseball bat,” he continued. “The resulting cracking sound is distinct, and frat men would recognize it anywhere. The neophyte winces, but the swings are repeated, sometimes to spell out the full frat name. The result is an ass and hips that are literally as purple as eggplant.”
Now, this fraternity has members who are prominent politicians and professionals. Apparently, the doctors from their ranks play an important role in the initiation process.
“We dreaded the doctor brods because they knew how to inflict on us the depths of pain without going over our limits,” Fratboy Alumnus recalled.
“What happens after weeks of hazing?” he said. “Upon becoming a brod, the fear takes the form of total obedience. Frat heads hold absolute power, they cannot be disobeyed. Dare to defy the grand head, and he can give the word to have you beaten up.”
Then there’s the “code of silence,” which Fratboy Alumnus summarized this way: “Evil done by the frat or its members must remain secret — or else. Put it together: the threat of torture makes you obey a dictator and cover up the group’s felonies.”
“The truth is nobody would like to talk about initiations because we believed we should not be defined by that but instead [be defined by] who we represent in government, judiciary, business and many other fields and a common goal of serving the nation,” he tells me.
There is no doubt that many fraternity leaders and members also see themselves playing meaningful and important roles in Philippine society. Still, there’s that stigma, that culture of cruelty and violence.
That won’t change overnight. But maybe Andrei Marcos’s death can be a powerful reminder that it has to eventually.
Other hazing victims
Apart from the recent death of Andrei Marcos of San Beda College, there was also Marvin Reglos of the same school who died from hazing inflicted by the Lex Leonum Fraternity. Not to be forgotten is Lennie Villa who was mauled to death by Aquila Legis Fraternity some 20 years ago.
While students cannot be denied the right to associate, San Beda College authorities said that the school does not approve membership in any clandestine organization, which employs as part of its ceremonies or other practices any act that results in injury, imprudence or coercion.”
San Beda reiterated that recruitment and membership in such organizations were administrative and disciplinary offenses warranting suspension or expulsion from the school. It said the administration had not been remiss in forbidding and warning students against it. Hazing is a violation of Republic Act 8049 and is in fact a criminal offense.