Paris Hilton Speaks Out About The Abuse She Endured In 'Troubled Teen' Group Homes

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Photo credit: Alex Wong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Alex Wong - Getty Images

Trigger warning: Abuse

  • Paris Hilton is opening up about the abuse she suffered at several “troubled teen” facilities, starting when she was 16.

  • Paris, now 40, spoke to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to advocate for the new Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which aims to improve the welfare of teens who are sent to boarding schools and boot camps against their will.

  • Paris also wrote about her experience in an op-ed for The Washington Post, noting that her scary journey with teen facilities started when she was woken up in the middle of the night, handcuffed, and taken to an airport by two men in a “parent-approved kidnapping.”

Paris Hilton is opening up about the abuse she suffered at several “troubled teen” facilities, starting when she was 16.

Paris, now 40, spoke to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to advocate for the new Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which aims to improve the welfare of teens who are sent to boarding schools and boot camps against their will. “I’m confident that this bill will create a world where all youth have the support and opportunity to heal, thrive, and not just survive,” she said, per Rolling Stone.

Paris also wrote about her experience in an op-ed for The Washington Post, noting that her scary journey with teen facilities started when she was woken up in the middle of the night, handcuffed, and taken to an airport by two men in a “parent-approved kidnapping.”

“Like countless other parents of teens, my parents had searched for solutions to my rebellious behavior,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, they fell for the misleading marketing of the ‘troubled teen industry’— therapeutic boarding schools, military-style boot camps, juvenile justice facilities, behavior modification programs and other facilities that generate roughly $50 billion annually in part by pitching ‘tough love’ as the answer to problematic behavior.”

At the facilities she eventually visited, Paris said she was “choked, slapped across the face, spied on while showering and deprived of sleep.” She also said she was “called vulgar names and forced to take medication without a diagnosis. At one Utah facility, I was locked in solitary confinement in a room where the walls were covered in scratch marks and blood stains.”

Paris said she “couldn’t report this abuse because all communication with the outside world was monitored and censored.” She also added this chilling note: “Many congregate-care facilities drive wedges between parents and children by telling parents not to believe their kids when they report mistreatment and by telling children that their cries for help will never be believed. And some children in these facilities have no loved ones to turn to.”

Paris pointed to a 2008 government accountability report that found there was “death and abuse” of teens at these facilities, but there is still is little to no transparency about what goes on behind closed doors.

“The multi-billion-dollar troubled teen industry has been able to mislead parents, school districts, child welfare agencies, and juvenile justice systems for decades,” Paris said on Wednesday. “The reason is a system-wide lack of transparency and accountability. It’s clear that the state-by-state patchwork of limited, weak oversight and inconsistent licensing requirements is not working. Federal law and funding are desperately needed to bring real reform and true accountability to congregate care in America.”

She echoed the sentiment at the end of her op-ed, writing, “ensuring that children, including at-risk children, are safe from institutional abuse, neglect and coercion isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue. It’s a basic human rights issue that requires immediate action. Those in power have an obligation to protect the powerless.”

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