An in-depth look at treatment centers for troubled teens brought forth new details of Paris Hilton’s alleged abuse during her time at a Utah center, including allegations of forced penetration, inhumane solitary confinement and repeated degradation.
Sent to the Provo Canyon School at 16 to finish high school after parental punishments failed to curb her rampant partying, Hilton detailed years of abuse at the hands of staff that ended when the reality star turned 18.
“It was really scary, and it’s something that I really had blocked out for many years,” the heiress told the New York Times. “But it’s coming back all the time now, and I think about it. And now, looking back as an adult, that was definitely sexual abuse.”
Hilton alleged non-medical staff members performed “cervical exams” on her and other students, saying the trauma left her scarred for many years.
“Very late at night, this would be around like 3 or 4 in the morning, they would take myself and other girls into this room and they would perform medical exams,” Hilton said. “It wasn’t even with a doctor” but rather “it was a couple of different staff members who would have us lay on the table and put their fingers inside of us. And I don’t know what they were doing, but it was definitely not a doctor.”
Hilton also outlined her ordeal at the hands of Provo Canyon staff in a detailed Twitter post.
“I cried while they held me down & said, ‘No!’ They just said, ‘Shut up. Be quiet. Stop struggling or you’ll go to Obs,'” Hilton wrote. “It’s important to open up about these painful moments so I can heal & help put an end to this abuse.”
I opened up in a @NYTimes video about something I’ve never discussed before. At Provo Canyon School, I was woken up in the middle of the night by male staff who ushered me into a private room and performed cervical exams on me in the middle of the night. https://t.co/mWxF8Pvmaw
— ParisHilton (@ParisHilton) October 11, 2022
One of four “therapeutic” boarding schools Hilton was sent to as a teen, it was immediately clear the Provo center was considerably more problematic, Hilton said.
“I knew it was going to be worse than anywhere else,” she said. “It was supposed to be a school, but [classes] were not the focus at all. From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture.”
In her documentary “This Is Paris,” Hilton was joined by three classmates who corroborated her account of life at the Utah center, sharing that attendees were force-fed medication, held down by restraints as punishment and sometimes tossed into solitary confinement for as long as “20 hours a day.”
“I was having panic attacks and crying every single day,” Hilton said. “I was just so miserable. I felt like a prisoner and I hated life.”
In publicly speaking out, Hilton has advocated for policy change and government oversight of centers such as Provo Canyon.
“This was a recurring experience not only for me but for other #survivors,” the 41-year-old wrote on Twitter. “I was violated & I am crying as I type this because no one, especially a child, should be sexually abused. My childhood was stolen from me & it kills me this is still happening to other innocent children.”
It’s important to open up about these painful moments so I can heal & help put an end to this abuse. Watch the @NYTimes video that shares my story & deeply disturbing information about Provo Canyon School’s owners Universal Health Services. Help me #ShutDownProvo #UHSTakeAction
— ParisHilton (@ParisHilton) October 11, 2022
In October 2021, the “Simple Life” star demanded that the government do more to intervene against congregate-care facilities, calling on President Joe Biden and Congress to create a “bill of rights” for children in congregate care. The businesswoman asked for a comprehensive system for reporting and documenting abuse, and to establish more rigorous and regular inspections of these facilities.
Hilton also called for regulation to help establish standards of training for staff, and that states be able to actively prove that the human dignity of children in these facilities is being respected.
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