When I was hazed, we (myself and the small group of other girls who were joining that semester) were constantly reassured through the process that the older girls would never do anything to hurt us. There was no reason to think otherwise - they had been very kind and inclusive towards us through the semester, showering us with gifts and attention. The hazing itself only occurred twice in the semester, once at our written test on sorority knowledge and once on the night before we were initiated. Both times it was fairly lighthearted, like blindfolding us and making us sit together and sing sorority songs. I think another year some girls got blindfolded and driven around in circles for a while, then they had to touch something gooey. The worst was probably when they asked one girl to sing the alphabet backwards. She was so nervous that she messed it up really badly, which made the rest of us laugh, and then we got yelled at by the girl in charge for laughing. Then some of the older girls painted their faces and wore robes, and held a ceremony with us in very solemn fashion. I actually enjoyed that. Overall I found it very mild, though I think because I joined when I was a little older and had heard a lot of stories from my friends, I was more chill about it than a totally newbie freshman might be. We did have one very feisty freshman who freaked out and felt threatened. I felt like that was an overreaction, but it's also really important not to make anyone feel threatened, and clearly she'd been pushed beyond her threshold.
When I participated in the hazing, there had been some restrictions put on our activities by our advisors, so we couldn't do the late night stuff anymore. We just tricked the new girls into thinking they were all going to get kicked out for about 45 minutes and then revealed the trick, consoled them, and gave them a bunch of presents. The idea was just to give a little fun scare,just building anticipation and having us go through it together, so we have a bonding experience. There is some tension between longstanding chapters who want to keep hazing tradition alive because they find it fun, not dangerous, and as something that links all the sisters together, versus the international governing body who are trying to push anti-hazing because it's such bad PR. I have heard horrific stories of hazing in the media, but I have never personally met anyone who went through anything like that. I'm sure it does exist, of course, but I have not encountered it.