Paris Hilton has spoken out about the sexual abuse she suffered at Provo Canyon boarding school
Paris Hilton has long been lobbying for an end to be put to the so-called ‘troubled teen industry’, and in a recent interview, she has detailed the sexual abuse she suffered at Provo Canyon School when she was just 17.
The following article may contain details some readers may find upsetting.
Ever since the heiress, businesswoman and instantly recognisable celebrity personality that is Paris Hilton went public with her allegations of emotional, physical and verbal abuse experienced at Provo Canyon Boarding School, she has been on a crusade to reform the industry.
Having attended a number of ‘emotional growth schools’ during her teen years, Hilton previously described Provo Canyon as “the worst of the worst” in her 2020 Youtube Originals documentary, This Is Paris.
Of the institution, she said, “I felt like a lot of the people who worked there got off on torturing children and seeing them naked”, and that their so-called care givers kept them forcibly medicated and regularly put those who would not comply into solitary confinement.
“I was at Provo for 11 months, and the only thing that saved my sanity was thinking about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become when I got out of there,” Hilton said in her documentary. Since speaking out about her own experiences, Paris has been tirelessly campaigning for industrial reform because, as she puts it, “Maybe if I can help stop their nightmares it will help me stop mine.”
In a recent New York Times Opinion video and article, Hilton detailed the sexual abuse and nonconsual acts she was subjected to during her just under one year stint at Provo Canyon boarding school.
“Very late at night, this would be around like three or four in the morning, they would take myself and other girls into this room and they would perform medical exams,” Hilton states. She alleges that those who performed the nonconsensual “medical exams” weren’t even doctors, but were just “different staff members who would have us lay on the table and put their fingers inside of us.”
“I don’t know what they were doing, but it was definitely not a doctor. And it was really scary, and it’s something that I really had blocked out for many years,” Hilton said. “But it’s coming back all the time now, and I think about it. And now, looking back as an adult, that was definitely sexual abuse.”
In a subsequent Twitter tread, Hilton elaborates this point further, writing, “This was a recurring experience not only for me but for other #survivors. I was violated & I am crying as I type this because no one, especially a child, should be sexually abused. My childhood was stolen from me & it kills me this is still happening to other innocent children.”
I opened up in a @NYTimes video about something I’ve never discussed before. At Provo Canyon School, I was woken up in the middle of the night by male staff who ushered me into a private room and performed cervical exams on me in the middle of the night. https://t.co/mWxF8Pvmaw
— ParisHilton (@ParisHilton) October 11, 2022
In the New York Times piece, more than 50 former patients, experts, advocates, regulators, legislators and employees were interviewed about these treatment facilities that “don’t sufficiently address the core problems but instead attempt to punish them away.” The piece also contains disturbing security footage obtained from the institution.
Furthering the movement towards the closure and reformation of these institutions, Provo Canyon remains open today, and is described as “a leading national provider of residential youth treatment and has a deep history of supporting the academic, therapeutic, and developmental needs of their students” on an online directory — though they note that the school came under new ownership in 2000, they cannot comment on its operation prior to that date.