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Savagery masquerading as brotherhood

02:16 AM July 09, 2014

I join the many voices condemning those fraternity hoodlums responsible for the senseless death of College of St. Benilde student Guillo Cesar Servando.

Fraternities are supposed to promote brotherhood but, more often, they are used by many as an excuse to abuse others, maybe to compensate for their insecurities, while their officers shield them from the consequences of their misdeeds.

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When I was at the university, I was persuaded to join one popular fraternity with the promise that the initiation would simply consist of psychological and fun challenges. The fraternity used one of my fellow AFS returnees to persuade me to become a neophyte.

The initial challenges were easy enough: writing love letters on behalf of senior members,  bringing flowers to some girls in the sister dorm, cleaning cars, doing the assignments of some of the senior members, walking around campus with funny billboard signs, etc.

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Then came the “Final Rites” when I and two other initiates were brought to a private beach house. After being blindfolded, I was surprised to get a whispered warning to “just relax and concentrate on breathing and exhaling slowly when the paddle hits your legs.” I was still processing this information when the blow started coming. WHACK!  WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! A voice was shouting in my right ear to “pump,” but I ignored his command. I lost count of the times they hit me (I sensed there were more than six guys participating) but through the pain I resolved not to squeal and give my torturers the satisfaction.

After we got the required number of paddle blasts, my legs were so numb to the pain I couldn’t remember how we got back to the dorm. I remember asking one of the “senior brods” if that was the final requirement for membership, to which he retorted, “Yes!” followed by a reassuring pat on the back. Right then I told him that I had decided not to become a member of their “brotherhood.”

As a consequence of that hazing, I couldn’t sit on the toilet bowl for two weeks! The frat officers (including my fellow AFS returnee) blamed some overzealous members for the “unauthorized hazing” we got and tried to persuade me to reconsider my earlier decision. But I stood pat on my decision not to join their fraternity. And to this day, I’ve never regretted that decision.

—ED DAMES,

chair/CEO

DTC Promos Inc.,

Unit 3D2 Vernida 1 Bldg.,

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120 Amorsolo Street,

Legaspi Village, Makati City

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TAGS: College of St. Benilde, Fraternity, Guillo Cesar Servando
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