Warning: This post discusses sexual abuse.
Paris Hilton recently detailed some of her horrifying experiences at Provo Canyon School – a boarding school and treatment center that offered behavioral reform for troubled teenagers.
In an interview with The New York Times, 41-year-old Hilton recalled being woken up in the middle of the night by male staff members who then proceeded to give her cervical exams.
“It was with a couple [of] different staff members where they would lay us on the table and put their fingers inside of us,” she said.
A combination of heavy medication and sleep deprivation made her disoriented and unable to “understand what was happening.”
“I was forced to lie on a padded table, spread my legs & submit to cervical exams. I cried while they held me down & said, ‘No!’” she shared on Twitter.
“This was a recurring experience not only for me but for other #survivors,” she added. “I was violated & I am crying as I type this because no one, especially a child, should be sexually abused.”
Hilton added that there was never a physician present during these “exams.”
She Has Been Fighting for Change
People used to look at Paris Hilton and think that she had the perfect, glamorous life, but that opinion changed when she dropped a bomb about her former Utah boarding school.
In September 2020, she alleged in her documentary, This is Paris, that she was emotionally and physically abused during her stay at Provo Canyon School. She even shared photos of her 18-year-old self after enduring 11 months of horror.
“These photos were taken when I was 18 and had recently came home from the horrible experiences I went through at #ProvoCanyonSchool,” she wrote. “I can see the pain in my eyes. I was so traumatized that I pretended everything was okay, trying to block out the painful memories.”
She Was Sent to Provo Canyon for the School’s Behavioral Program
After moving to New York in 1996, Hilton struggled to fit in and was often bullied by other students in her new school. This, combined with the stress of her parents’ expectations, prompted her to channel her frustrations into something else.
Thus, she was introduced to the party scene at an early age and became rebellious. She often snuck out of their residence at Waldorf Astoria so she could go clubbing. Her parents, Richard and Kathy, decided to look for ways to do something about it before it got out of control. She was sent to two “emotional growth schools” where she ended up running away.
Hilton was only 17 years old when she was eventually sent to Provo Canyon, and she described her stay there as “the worst of the worst.” Because of the abuse she endured, Hilton developed insomnia, nightmares, and trust issues, and eventually sunk into depression.
When she returned home after almost a year in Provo Canyon, she said she was just extremely grateful to leave the place, which was why she tried to bury everything in her mind. She reinvented herself and became the bubbly, fun, glamorous socialite that most people came to know.
After Years of Silence, Paris Hilton Finally Spoke up about Her Experience
It took two decades for her to open up and share her traumatic experience. It was something that shocked the whole world.
“You’re sitting on a chair staring at a wall all day long, getting yelled at or hit,” Hilton revealed in her documentary. “I felt like a lot of the people who worked there got off on torturing children and seeing them naked.”
She was prescribed pills that would make her “feel so tired and numb.” While she found a way not to take the medication, the staff found out, and she was essentially force-fed.
Provo Canyon School Continues to Operate
Despite a number of protests and complaints, the boarding school remains open. The new owners released a statement following the This is Paris documentary in a response to Hilton’s accusations.
“Provo Canyon School is committed to the safety of our patients and staff,” the statement read. “Provo Canyon School DOES NOT use “solitary confinement” as a form of intervention.”
Hilton continues to advocate for reform in what is known as the troubled teen industry. In February 2021, she testified in court about all the abuse she suffered in Provo Canyon. A month later, a bill calling for reform of Utah’s laws on residential care for troubled teens was passed, and Hilton couldn’t be prouder.
Utah Republican Senator Michael McKell, who supported the bill, said that it was “long overdue.”