Paris Hilton made an emotional testimony in a Utah court about the alleged abuse she experienced at boarding school.
In her 2020 YouTube Originals documentary This Is Paris, the 39-year-old alleged that staff members at the Provo Canyon School, where she was sent as a teenager, inflicted emotional, physical and psychological abuse on her.
The heiress turned entrepreneur appeared before the Utah State Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Monday to alleged that children were ‘restrained, hit, thrown into walls, strangled and sexually abused regularly at Provo’, and to lobby for a bill to regulate Utah’s schools for troubled teenagers.
Hilton said: ‘My name is Paris Hilton, I am an institutional abuse survivor and I speak today on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of children currently in residential care facilities across the United States.
‘For the past 20 years, I have had a recurring nightmare where I’m kidnapped in the middle of the night by two strangers, strip-searched, and locked in a facility. I wish I could tell you that this haunting nightmare was just a dream, but it is not.’
Hilton recounted her allegations against Provo, claiming that she was forced to take medication without a diagnosis.
The Simple Life star alleged: ‘I was verbally, mentally and physically abused on a daily basis. I was cut off from the outside world and stripped of all my human rights.
‘Without a diagnosis, I was forced to consume medication that made me feel numb and exhausted. I didn’t breathe fresh air or see the sunlight for 11 months.
‘There was zero privacy — every time I would use the bathroom or take a shower — it was monitored. At 16 years old — as a child — I felt their piercing eyes staring at my naked body. I was just a kid and felt violated every single day.’
Hilton called on the Utah courts and President Joe Biden to monitor schools like Provo Canyon more closely.
She said: ‘I tell my story not so that anyone feels bad for me, but to shine a light on the reality of what happened then and is still happening now. The people who work at, run, and fund these programs should be ashamed of themselves. How can people live with themselves knowing this abuse is happening?
‘Talking about something so personal was and is still terrifying. And I cannot go to sleep at night knowing that there are children that are enduring the same abuse that I and so many others went through. Neither should you. I am proof that money doesn’t protect against abuse.’
Hilton initially made her allegations against Provo Canyon – a boarding school for troubled teens – in her YouTube documentary, saying that her stint at the institution left her with insomnia, anxiety and trust issues.
Since the documentary aired, she has held a rally for survivors of alleged abuse, and has launched a website where others who have been abused can submit their testimonies.
Provo Canyon School, which opened in 1971, was sold by its previous ownership in 2000, with its new owners saying they cannot comment on ‘operations or patient experience’ prior to this time.
In a statement issued in September, the school said that staff do not use solitary confinement as a ‘form of intervention’ or prescribe ‘any drug or medication as a means of discipline’.
The statement read: ‘We do not condone or promote any form of abuse. Any and all alleged/suspected abuse is reported immediately to our state regulatory authorities, law enforcement and Child Protective Services, as required.
‘We are committed to providing high-quality care to youth with special, and often complex, emotional, behavioural and psychiatric needs.’
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