Spare the Rod was founded in 2019 by troubled teen industry survivor and activist Brett Harper. Having survived a troubled teen industry program that left him with traumatic, life-long injuries and disabilities, Brett decided that he wanted to make it his purpose in life to raise awareness about child abuse in the troubled teen industry. In doing so he hopes that parents will be more informed and better able to help their struggling teens without subjecting them to the kind of trauma that he had to endure.
Spare the Rod started out as a hashtag #SpareTheRod. The idea was to take the phrase abusive, overly authoritative adults have used for many years to justify striking or severely punishing children, and spin it on it’s head and using it as a call to action that challenges those in authority to lead with love, empathy, and compassion instead of a heavy hand. It calls on leaders to use the rod more sparingly and instead focus on ways to support struggling youth instead of simply punishing them!
As the non profit grew and his fight against abusive troubled teen industry programs continued, Brett saw grave similarities between how ICE and police abuse people in their custody, and how he was abused as a teen. Brett was also abused by police on several occasions as an disabled adult. Believing firmly that no life, no human being is more important than another, and that we all should be treated fairly and equally under the law, Brett decided to expand his non profit to talk about ICE and Police brutality.
Separate sections of the site entitled “Kids in Cages” and “Spare the Baton” will feature our home for activism against police and ICE abuses. We hope you will join us and help us expose abuse and bring attention to these abuses of authority upon vulnerable people that need our help!
An additional section of our site entitled “Healing” focuses on recovering from trauma and abuse. This section is a rich resource full of links and materials you can use to help you or a struggling person through mental health crisis related to abuse and trauma from childhood. There is even a Facebook support group for those who wish to exchange tips and tricks on how to get through hard times with other survivors. More groups are on more sites are in the works. Spare the Rod hopes to provide many tools and resources survivors can use to heal and become whole.
Working with various organizations, politicians, news organizations, and relentlessly on social media sites like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Tik Tok #SpareTheRod continues to grow as a movement. If you would like to get involved please contact us. We will be happy to get back to you as quickly as possible. There is a lot of work that needs to be done! Join us and help us change the world we live in for the better!
Brett Harper is the Founder and Director of #SpareTheRod the non-profit and movement. He is currently 36 years old and lives in Portland, OR.