NORWOOD, Colo. —
While little research has been done on boy-on-boy sexual hazing, almost 10 percent of high school males reported being victims of rape, forced oral sex or other forms of sexual assault by their peers, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
"This is right out of 'Lord of the Flies,"' said Susan Stuart, a professor of education law at Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana, who has studied an increase in federal lawsuits brought by male victims of sexual hazing. "And nobody knows about it."
Hazing in high school is fueling college hazing, experts say, as a new generation of players on middle- and high-school sports teams learn ways to haze through social media, said Susan Lipkins, a psychologist in Port Washington, N.Y., who has studied the subject for 25 years. The practice has been increasing in frequency over the past decade, becoming more brutal and sexually violent, she said.
"Each time a hazing occurs, the perpetrators add their own mark to it by increasing the pain or humiliation," Lipkins said.
High school boys are trying to prove their masculinity to each other by humiliating younger boys because that's what they think manliness is all about, said William Pollack, associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.
"We keep saying to the boy: 'Be a man,' and a boy is not a man, so that's not possible," said Pollack, who is also director of the Centers for Men and Young Men at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.
In at least four cases of sodomy hazing last year, the coach or supervising teacher was alleged to have known about it, ordered it, witnessed it or laughed about it, according to police reports and court filings.