Reality star Paris Hilton lobbied lawmakers to regulate the “troubled teen industry” after revealing she had been sexually abused by staff while forcibly held at a residential treatment facility as a teenager.
Hilton published an op-ed in USA Today that detailed her traumatic experience while she was being treated for ADHD at Utah based lockdown facility Provo Canyon School. She said she was forced to submit to an “extremely uncomfortable” gynecological exam while closely watched by male staff.
The repeated sexual abuse occured when she was subjected to contraband checks throughout her stay. “What I couldn’t understand as a 16-year-old girl was why that internal exam would be done to me frequently during my time at Provo, and only during the middle of the night,” she wrote.
“I was forced to lie on a padded table, spread my legs and submit to gynecological exams. I remember crying while they held me down. I kept saying, “No!” and asking, “Why?” They just said, “Shut up. Be quiet. Stop struggling or you’ll go to Obs,’” Hilton detailed.
She said that Obs was the nickname for solitary confinement in a cinderblock room that contained nothing but a drain and a roll of toilet paper.
“The room was freezing cold, and I was almost naked. I paced until I couldn’t stand up anymore. Then I huddled on the floor and rocked back and forth, forcing myself to think about the life I would create for myself after I got out,” Hilton continued. “Looking back on these experiences as an adult woman, I can recognize these exams for what they were: the sexual assault of children.
The “Simple Life” star stood in a replica of the solitary confinement booth at the National Mall in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. “It’s just hard being in here,” she told spectators. “It’s just really triggering.”
She visited the White House to discuss the Federal Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which gives children federal protection, then spoke in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.
“For too long, our government has allowed this deceptive industry to operate in the shadows without any real transparency or accountability,” Hilton stated at a press conference.