“In my experience, members used male peer support to condone physical coercion and debasement, such as our daily servitude and weekly submission to verbal abuse. They projected smug entitlement to such dominance, offering rationalizations that every pledge class must prove itself, and that this hardship would forge lifelong bonds between us. Captive and overwhelmed, we accepted their reasoning and resigned ourselves to humiliating drudgery. Before long, a dynamic akin to Stockholm syndrome inverted some pledges’ resentments, and they voiced eagerness to abuse next year’s pledges.
Such toxic male peer support is often sustained by group secrecy (Dekesredy and Schwartz, 2013). Cooperative silence about prohibited or abusive practices not only shields all actions and participants, it can nurture a morally relativistic groupthink through which other misconduct is similarly rationalized and concealed.”