Hilton, who was in Washington DC for the announcement on Wednesday, appeared alongside Democratic Representative Ro Khanna.
‘I was strangled, slapped across the face, watched in the shower by male staff, called vulgar names, forced to take medication without a proper 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.”
“For 20 years I couldn’t sleep at night as memories of physical violence, feeling of loneliness, the loss of peers rushed through my mind when I shut my eyes. This was not just insomnia; it was trauma,” Hilton, 40, said.
Recalling the day she was taken to the Provo Canyon School in Utah, a psychiatric youth residential home for teenagers, the TV personality said two men asked her “if I wanted to go the easy way or the hard way.”
“Thinking I 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,” she said. “They didn’t come to my rescue that night”.
‘This was my introduction to the troubled teen industry. My parents were promised that tough love would fix me and that sending me across the country was the only way.”
In a direct appeal to both sides of the political divide and President Joe Biden, she said introducing a “bill of rights” for children would stop future abuse at care facilities.
“Ensuring children are safe from institutional abuse isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue. It’s a basic human rights issue that requires immediate attention.”
She added: “If I had these rights and could have exercised them I would have been saved from over 20 years of trauma and severe PTSD”.
Her remarks follow a testimony to the Utah legislature earlier this year about her ordeal at Provo Canyon and other facilities, and her support of a reform bill in Utah for care homes for children.
Mr Khanna said he was unaware about the abuses suffered by children in care facilities until speaking with the TV personality.
“This is not a messaging bill. This is a bill we need to pass,” the Democrat said. “We need to pass it in the House and the Senate in a bipartisan way to have basic rights for America’s kids who get sent to these facilities so that they are treated with dignity and respect – and we will pass this.”
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