“Speak your truth and never stop using your voice,” says entrepreneur, model, actress, and influencer Paris Hilton.
From a young age, Hilton used partying and drugs as a distraction from bullying at her school in New York. This behavior concerned her parents, Kathy and Rick Hilton, who sent the heiress to multiple “emotional growth schools” for troubled children. In This is Paris, Hilton’s auto-documentary, she recollects how at age 15 she was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Screaming and fighting, she was dragged out of her house by two men—all while her parents watched her. This parent-approved kidnapping was only the beginning of what Paris had to endure at the reform schools she ended up attending.
“My experience at each one haunts me to this day. I was strangled, slapped across the face, locked 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 scrap marks and smeared in blood, and so much more,” accounts Hilton at a Capitol press conference. These were only some of the horrifying methods used to “reform” young children at the schools Hilton was sent to.
In her documentary, Paris recounts how much she suffered in her youth. Everything from abusive boyfriends, absent parents, and being taken advantage of in school, she buried those feelings down and refused to talk about it. Instead she decided to build her own empire to show that she can’t be controlled the way she was in her childhood again. Despite being described by her friends as intelligent, she was portrayed by the media as a dumb party girl. Since her documentary came out, she wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post and held a press conference in Washington, D.C. urging lawmakers to establish a bill of rights for children placed in congregate care facilities. Paris is using her privilege to break her silence to advocate for teens all over the country for their rights. She’s no longer letting the media control her image and is changing her own narrative.
Picture Source: Today.com/ Rick Bowmer / AP
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