Paris Hilton was on Capitol Hill Thursday to lobby members of Congress to support legislation designed to prevent the kind of sexual and physical abuse she has endured in schools.
The 42-year-old revealed in August 2020 that she had been abused at a facility for “troubled teenagers” in Utah, where she was admitted when she was 17 for 11 months.
Since then, the heiress and reality TV star has worked to improve school scrutiny and prevent others from suffering like her.
“I’m doing everything in my power to fight for these kids because they’re kids that come from families that can’t help and support them and kids from the juvenile justice system, the foster care system. And they have no voice,” she told Fox News Thursday morning.
“So I’m really just turning my pain to purpose and using my platform to make a difference and save the lives of children because hundreds of children have died in the name of treatment in these places.”
Paris Hilton appeared on Fox News Thursday morning to explain why she is campaigning for the Institutional Child Abuse Stop Bill in Congress
Hilton, 42, is pictured at the Capitol on Thursday
Speaking at a press conference, the heiress and entrepreneur explained why the law to stop institutional child abuse is so important
Hilton is campaigning for the Stop Institutional Child Abuse Act, which was introduced Thursday by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives.
Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Rep. Ro Khanna of California supported the bill, along with Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, and Rep. Buddy Carter of Georgia.
The bill aims to establish federal data collection and reporting standards for the “troubled teen” industry and provide states with best practices to prevent abuse.
Speaking on the steps of the Capitol, Hilton described how she was subjected to horrible treatment at school.
“I have witnessed and experienced sexual abuse by adult employees and endured verbal and emotional abuse on a daily basis. I was yelled at, dehumanized, silenced and deprived of any semblance of privacy,” she said.
“When I tried to tell my parents about the abuse over the phone, the staff immediately stopped and hung up and fined me.
“Also, 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 at the Capitol on Thursday
The heiress said she was determined to use her notoriety to give a voice to those suffering
Hilton was praised by California official Ro Khanna, who said he admired her commitment to the cause
Hilton described being medically sedated and forcibly held against her will. She also said male staff watched her shower.
She previously described how she was sent there from New York as a teenager and suffered emotional and physical abuse.
“From the moment I woke up until I went to bed it was screaming in my face all day, yelling at me, constant torture,” she said in 2020.
In an op-ed in USA Today published in 2020, she wrote that upon arrival at Provo Canyon School, she was forced to undress, crouch and cough and attend a pelvic exam while male staff looked on .
She said she was told this was routine to look for contraband.
Hilton wrote that these invasive exams continued throughout her stay, with staff dragging her out of 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 have a pelvic exam. I remember crying while they held me.’
Hilton was sent to Provo Canyon School in Utah at age 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 the Provo Canyon School, has repeatedly declined to comment on what Hilton said happened to her, saying that they are using 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 this bill.
Khanna said he admires her commitment to making change happen, unlike other celebrities who “fly in, do a press conference, they table a bill and then they go.”
Khanna added, “They came three years ago and I remember talking to the mother of Paris … and they said, ‘We actually want to legislate.’
“And month after month they’ve been working with the organization to meet members of Congress and get the work done to actually get something done.”
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