Paris Hilton says she was "slapped" and "strangled" as a teen in youth care
"I was watched in the shower by male staff, called vulgar names, forced to take medication without a diagnosis..."
Paris Hilton has spoken about the alleged abuse she suffered as a teenager at children's behavioural facilities in the US.
The 40-year-old joined members of Congress on Tuesday, urging US lawmakers to crack down on the so-called "troubled teen industry".
Behavioural facilities in the US provide residential treatment programmes aimed at teenagers with emotional or behavioural problems. Paris says she was sent to four of these facilities as a teenager.
She first shared her experiences in a YouTube documentary, This Is Paris. Since then, she has been campaigning for safeguarding and reform regarding the issue.
“Today, I come here not as Paris Hilton, but as a survivor”: The hotel heiress joined members of Congress on Wednesday in support of legislation aiming to establish a bill of rights for teens in congregate care facilities. pic.twitter.com/amoi9LSykc
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 20, 2021
Paris said that her time spent at these facilities still haunts her to this day.
"My parents were promised that tough love would fix me and that sending me across the country was the only way," she said.
"I was strangled, slapped across the face, watched in the shower by male staff, called vulgar names, forced to take medication without a diagnosis, not give a proper education, thrown into solitary confinement in a room covered in scratch marks and smeared in blood and so much more."
She went on to share a terrifying story of how she was woken up in the middle of the night by two men entering her bedroom to take her to one of these facilities. At the time, she thought she was being kidnapped.
"I screamed for my parents, and as I was being physically dragged out of my house, I saw them crying in the hallway. They didn't come to my rescue that night."
During her speech, Paris urged President Joe Biden and members of Congress to pass into law The Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which would lay out a national bill of rights for children in residential facilities.
"Every day in America, children in congregate care settings are being physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Children are even dying at the hands of those responsible for their care," she said.
"This bill creates an urgently-needed bill of rights to ensure that every child placed in congregate facilities is provided a safe and humane environment.
"This bill provides protections that I wasn't afforded, like access to education, to the outdoors, freedom from abusive treatment, and even the basic right to speak and move freely.
"If I had these rights and could have exercised them, I would have been saved from over 20 years of trauma and severe PTSD."