Paris Hilton spoke about her alleged abuse as a teenager on Wednesday as part of a push to change the laws governing youth care facilities.
Hilton first talked about her experiences in a documentary about her life released last year.
He spent months campaigning for the preservation and reform of residential programs aimed at adolescents in need.
During an event in Washington DC with lawmakers and rights advocates, Hilton talked about a new Congressional bill.
He said the Accountability for Congregate Care Act will establish a national charter of rights for youth in residential facilities and urged members of Congress and President Joe Biden to make it into law.
The change would aim to safeguard nationwide assistance to counter what activists say is a patchwork of inadequate monitoring and regulation across the country.
- Teenagers traumatized by hard love fields
Speaking on Wednesday at the US Capitol, Hilton detailed how she still struggles to sleep due to PTSD resulting from her time in boarding facilities as a teenager.
The 40-year-old recalled how she thought she was kidnapped after being awakened in the middle of the night by two men who had entered her bedroom to take her around the country.
She also claims she was physically assaulted, forced to take drugs and placed in solitary confinement during programs aimed at reforming her behavior.
“My parents were promised that hard love would settle me and that sending me across the country was the only way,” she said, adding that her experience in structures “haunts her to this day.”
Hilton became a leading figure of change after she made her experiences public in a documentary about her life, This is Paris, released last year.
He previously testified about changing the law in the state of Utah and wrote an editorial calling for national reform in the Washington Post newspaper earlier this week.
“I wish I could tell you that what I experienced was unique or even rare, but sadly it is not,” he said in a speech Wednesday.
“Every day in America, children in congregated care facilities are physically, emotionally and sexually abused. Children even die at the hands of those responsible for their care,” he added, pointing to the death in 2020 of Cornelius Fredericks, 16, in a facility in Michigan after being held by staff.
Hilton is part of a community of thousands of people who identify as survivors of abuse in similar facilities. Earlier this year the BBC spoke with 20 former residents about their experiences and with Cynthia Clark Harvey, whose daughter died on a behavior reform program in 2002.
The press conference on Wednesday was attended by other change advocates and lawmakers including Congressman Adam Schiff.
“For too long, bad actors in the troubled teen industry have been allowed to prey on desperate parents and vulnerable children and make child abuse their business model,” said Schiff, thanking Hilton and others for sharing their stories. .
“Facilities that abuse children under the guise of care have absolutely no place in our society and I will continue to push for strong legislation that increases regulation, supervision and transparency,” he added.
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