Paris Hilton recalls being 'strangled, slapped, watched in shower', pushes for troubled teen industry reform

Warning: This article discusses abuse and may be distressing for some readers. 

Paris Hilton shared shocking details of the alleged abuse she suffered while spending time in 'troubled teen' facilities - including being "strangled, slapped and watched in the shower". 

The reality television star visited Washington DC this week to support new legislation that would protect the rights of children living in group homes and institutions. 

In a press conference given alongside advocates, fellow survivors and several Democratic lawmakers, Hilton said the Accountability for Congregate Care Act would ensure other youth didn't suffer the way she had.  

"Today, I come here not as Paris Hilton but as a survivor," the Simple Life star began. 

"My parents were promised that tough love would fix me and that sending me across the country was the only way. 

“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 given a proper education, thrown into solitary confinement in a room covered in scratch marks and smeared in blood, and so much more." 

Hilton said that children in congregate care facilities were being emotionally, physically and sexually abused "every day". 

"I am confident that this bill will create a world where all youth have the support and opportunity they need to heal, thrive, and not just survive," she continued. 

Hilton's visit to Capitol Hill came days after she published an essay in The Washington Post in which she detailed a "parent-approved kidnapping" which saw her taken from her bedroom in the middle of the night when she was 16. 

"I was awakened one night by two men with handcuffs. They asked if I wanted to go 'the easy way or the hard way' before carrying me from my home as I screamed for help," she wrote. 

"I had no idea why or where I was being taken against my will. I soon learned I was being sent to hell." 

Hilton called out the 'troubled teen industry', including therapeutic boarding schools, military-style boot camps, juvenile justice facilities and behavior modification programs, for generating huge profits - roughly US$50 billion annually - from a 'tough love' approach that often brought with it systemic abuse and tragedy.

Where to find help and support: 

  • Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
  • Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584