Paris Hilton Gave Emotional Testimony Against Utah Boarding School, Alleging “Terrible” Abuse
"I was verbally, mentally, and physically abused on a daily basis."
Trigger warning: This story discusses emotional and physical abuse.
Paris Hilton is continuing to speak out about the alleged abuse she endured at a Utah boarding school as a teenager and is advocating for others in similar situations. On Monday, the reality star and entrepreneur testified against the Provo Canyon School, where she says she was emotionally, physically, and psychologically abused by staff members.
“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,” she said in her testimony to the Utah Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee.
She then noted the long-lasting trauma she’s experienced as a result of the alleged abuse. “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,” she said. “I wish I could tell you that this haunting nightmare was just a dream, but it is not.”
Hilton stated her allegations against the school clearly, saying, 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.
The reality star previously made allegations against the school in her YouTube documentary This Is Paris, which premiered in September. In Monday’s testimony, she shared specific details of the alleged abuse, saying she was forced to consume unknown medication, kept out of the sunlight and fresh air, sent to solitary confinement as punishment, and monitored by staff as she went to the bathroom or showered. “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,” she said.
Hilton also made clear her intentions for testifying. “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,” she said. “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?”
She also told the committee that it “was and is still terrifying” to share her story publicly. “But I cannot go to sleep at night knowing that there are children that are experiencing the same abuse that I and so many others went through, and neither should you.”
Adding that she’s “proof that money doesn’t protect against abuse,” Hilton called on President Joe Biden and leaders in Congress to take action and help her pursue federal legislation. Her testimony was in favor of a bill that would require more government oversight of youth residential treatment centers and require them to document when they use restraints.
“This is just the first step,” Hilton told reporters, according to USA Today. “This bill is going to definitely help a lot of children but there’s obviously more work to do, and I’m not going to stop until change happens.”