telling her truth

Watch Paris Hilton Charm Congress And Then Rip Apart Harmful Youth Treatment Facilities

She keeps showing us how much more she is than the fashion-forward reality star that we remember growing up.

Paris Hilton spoke before a House committee, testifying about the traumatic abuse she suffered durin...
C-Span / TikTok

Most might know socialite and entrepreneur, Paris Hilton, for her “That’s hot!” catchphrase, smiling for paparazzi while wearing something right off the runway, or paling around with Nicole Richie on The Simple Life.

However, in the past few years, Paris Hilton has surprised many by sharing some harrowing stories from her childhood in youth treatment facilities, now taking a spot of advocacy and speaking for those youth who, she says, don’t have a voice of their own.

And this week in Congress, she showed how her super-cool, fashion-obsessed persona can be quickly switched on and off when she wants to get business done and help kids.

On June 26, Hilton spoke before a House committee, testifying under oath about the traumatic abuse she suffered during her time at residential youth treatment facilities, urging lawmakers to institute laws that would protect vulnerable children sent to these types of places.

Hilton advocated for federal oversight over such facilities and described her own traumatic experience with them.

“While my experience was not through the foster care system, I know from personal experience the harm that is caused by being placed in youth residential treatment facilities,” the 43-year-old mom of two testified at the “Strengthening Child Welfare and Protecting America’s Children” hearing.

Hilton recounted how she was “ripped” from her bed in the middle of the night at 16 and transported to the first of four facilities.

“I was force-fed medications and sexually abused by staff. I was violently restrained and dragged down hallways, stripped naked and thrown into solitary confinement,” Hilton said.

“My parents were completely deceived — lied to and manipulated by this for-profit industry. So can you only imagine the experience for youth who don’t have anyone checking in on them?” she asked.

At the time, Hilton was struggling with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, getting poor grades and skipping classes. Someone recommended to her parents that she be sent to a treatment facility for kids.

“My parents had no idea; they just thought it was going to be a normal boarding school," she said.

“And when I got there, there was no therapy. We would just constantly be torn down, abused, screamed at, yelled at. No education whatsoever. I learned nothing there except trauma.”

“I am here to be the voice for children who currently do not have one, while this committee has the responsibility to move bipartisan solutions forward to protect them,” she told lawmakers.

“For children who do end up in foster care, we cannot allow them to grow up in cold facilities that act like kid prisons,” she added. “The treatment these children have had to endure is criminal. These kids deserve to grow up in safe, family-centered environments.”

“If you are a child in the system, hear my words: I see you, I believe you, I know what you’re going through and I’m not giving up on you,” Hilton said.

“You are important, your future is important, and you deserve every opportunity to be safe and supported.”

But the harrowing and serious hearing had some moments of charm due to Hilton’s magnetic personality. At one point, Hilton wished Rep. Mike Carey’s (R-Ohio) mother a happy birthday. She also praised Rep. Claudia Tenney’s (R-N.Y.) blazer, which featured a glittery, checkered pattern.

“I love your jacket. The sparkles are amazing,” Hilton told Tenney.

“Got a little bling here for today,” Tenney replied.

“Yes, I wanted to find out who made it later,” Hilton said with a smile.

The Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office said in a recent report that many states are failing to track how frequently children in foster care facilities are abused, sexually assaulted, or improperly restrained, leaving them vulnerable to mistreatment.

Billions of federal taxpayers’ dollars go to foster care for thousands of children around the country. And while some of those children are placed with families in homes or with their relatives, others who may have complex medical or behavioral needs, are sent to residential treatment facilities.