‘Turn my pain into purpose’: Paris Hilton advocates in Congress for child abuse bill


Paris Hilton was on Capitol Hill on Thursday to lobby members of Congress to support a bill designed to prevent sexual and physical abuse at schools, such as she endured.

The 42-year-old revealed in August 2020 that she had been abused at a ‘troubled teen’ facility in Utah, where she was sent for 11 months when she was 17.

Since then, the heiress and reality TV star has worked to improve scrutiny of schools, and prevent others from suffering like she did.

‘I’m doing everything I can in my power to fight for these children because these are children who come from families that can’t help and support them, and children from the juvenile justice system, foster care system. And they have no voice,’ she told Fox News on Thursday morning.

‘So I’m really just turning my pain into a purpose and using my platform to help make a difference and save children’s lives, because hundreds of children have died in the name of treatment in these places.’

Paris Hilton on Thursday morning appeared on Fox News to explain why she was promoting the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act in Congress

Paris Hilton on Thursday morning appeared on Fox News to explain why she was promoting the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act in Congress

Hilton, 42, is pictured on Thursday inside the Capitol

Hilton, 42, is pictured on Thursday inside the Capitol 

The heiress and entrepreneur addressed a press conference explaining why the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act was so important

The heiress and entrepreneur addressed a press conference explaining why the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act was so important

Hilton is championing the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act, which was introduced on Thursday by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives.

Democrat senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and representative Ro Khanna of California backed the bill, besides Republican senators John Cornyn of Texas and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, plus representative Buddy Carter of Georgia.

The bill seeks to create federal data collection and reporting standards for the ‘troubled teen’ industry and provide states with best practices to prevent abuse.

Hilton, speaking on the steps of the Capitol, described how she was subjected to horrific treatment at the school.

‘I witnessed and experienced sexual abuse from adult staff as well as endured verbal and emotional abuse daily. I was yelled at, dehumanized, silenced and stripped of any semblance of privacy,’ she said.

‘When I attempted to tell my parents about the abuse on the phone, staff would stop and immediately hang up the phone and punish me.

‘On top of this, you had no access to the outside doors, no sunlight, no fresh air. These were considered privileges.

‘What I went through will haunt me for the rest of my life.’

Hilton is pictured on Thursday inside the Capitol

Hilton is pictured on Thursday inside the Capitol

The heiress said she was determined to use her high profile to give a voice to those suffering

The heiress said she was determined to use her high profile to give a voice to those suffering

Hilton was praised by Ro Khanna, a representative for California, who said he admired her commitment to the cause

Hilton was praised by Ro Khanna, a representative for California, who said he admired her commitment to the cause

Hilton described being medically sedated against her will and forcibly restrained. She also said male staff members would watch her while she showered.

She previously described how she was sent there from New York as a teenage tearaway, and was subjected to emotional and physical abuse.

‘From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture,’ she said in 2020.

In an op ed in USA Today, published in 2020, she wrote that when she arrived at Provo Canyon School, she was forced to take off her clothes, squat and cough, and participate in a gynecological exam while male staffers watched.

She said she was told this was routine to check for contraband.

Hilton wrote that those invasive exams continued during her stay, with staffers pulling her from her bed in the middle of the night and taking her to an ‘exam room.’

‘Sleep-deprived and heavily medicated, I didn’t understand what was happening,’ 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.’

Hilton was sent to the Provo Canyon school in Utah when she was 17, and stayed there for 11 months

Hilton was sent to the Provo Canyon school in Utah when she was 17, and stayed there for 11 months

Hilton wrote that she asked why this was happening, and was told to be quiet or she would be sent to solitary confinement.

She said she now realizes it was sexual abuse.

The school changed hands in 2000, and Universal Health Services, which now owns Provo Canyon School, repeatedly has declined to comment on what Hilton said happened to her, saying it didn’t own the facility during the time she said she was abused. 

Hilton was last on the Hill in 2021 pushing for a similar measure, the Accountability for Congregate Care Act.

Khanna and Merkley were also sponsors of that bill.

Khanna said he admired her commitment to enacting change, unlike other celebrities who ‘fly in, they do a press conference, you have some bill introduced and then they leave.’

Khanna added: ‘They came in three years ago and I remember talking to Paris’ mom… and they said ‘We actually want to get legislation done.’

‘And month after month with the organization they’ve been working to meet members of Congress, doing the work to actually get something done.’



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