"I spent those 6 traumatic months of my teenage years, only to leave with major PTSD and other traumas," Kat Von D said of her experience at the institution

By Georgia Slater
October 06, 2020 11:21 AM
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Kat Von D is thanking Paris Hilton for giving her the courage to speak out about her "traumatic" experience at Provo Canyon School, the same boarding school where Hilton said she suffered abuse as a teen.

On Monday, the tattoo artist shared a lengthy video on Instagram in which she revealed she was sent to the Utah boarding school at age 15 and was "locked up for half a year, without ever seeing the sun."

In the 23-minute-long clip, Von D thanked Hilton for her bravery in starting the conversation about these "torturous" boarding schools and encouraged others to watch her documentary, This Is Paris, to learn more about these institutions.

"I spent those 6 traumatic months of my teenage years, only to leave with major PTSD and other traumas due to the unregulated, unethical and abusive protocols of this “school” — and cannot believe this place is STILL OPERATING," Von D began her caption on the video.

Credit: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 Presented by Amazon Prime Video; JB Lacroix/ WireImage

She continued: "Please take a moment to watch @parishilton ‘s documentary #ThisIsParis and follow @breakingcodesilence to see other survivors testimonials and better understand the horrors of the “Troubled Teen” industry, and the damage it causes to not just the kids, but the families. 🖤"

During the emotional video, Von D recounts her experience at the Provo Canyon School, sharing that she encountered similar situations Hilton said she experienced.

"Watching [Hilton] talk about some of her past trauma going to this school that her parents sent her as a teenager — I don’t like to call them schools because they’re not schools they’re f—king lockdown facilities — it just triggered so much s—t for me because it turns out I went to the same school," she revealed.

"I was sent to the same place and I was 15 when I was sent and I spent my 16th birthday in there," she continued. "I was there for a total of 6 months and they were definitely the most traumatic 6 months of my life."

Von D shared that she was also kidnapped from her bed in the middle of the night before being taken to Utah and blindfolded during the drive to the boarding school.

"I had no idea it was gonna end up being that I was trapped for six months at this pretty crazy, torturous awful place," she admitted.

The artist also recalled the school "force-feeding medication," something that Hilton also discussed.

While Von D said she was "spared of the sexual abuse and the physical abuse," it was something that she "definitely saw" during her time at the school.

At the end of the video, Von D again thanked Hilton for "everything that you're doing" and for allowing her to speak candidly about her experience.

Paris Hilton
| Credit: Paris Hilton/Youtube

In This Is Paris, a nearly two-hour film helmed by Emmy-winning director Alexandra Dean, Hilton goes into detail about the alleged abuse she suffered at the Utah boarding school — and how her trauma has carried over into adulthood.

Hilton revealed that she and her peers suffered physical and emotional abuse and were regularly given mystery pills at the institution.

When she refused to take them, she said she was sent to solitary confinement without clothing, sometimes for 20 hours at a time. (In a statement to PEOPLE in July, and also on its website, the school noted that it changed ownership in August 2000, after Hilton was a student. "We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to that time," the statement reads.)

In an interview with PEOPLE this summer, Hilton said she doesn’t have any plans currently to pursue legal justice; instead, she’s focused on raising awareness about other so-called behavior improvement schools that she says still employ the kind of physical and verbal abuse she endured for so long as a practice.

“I want these places shut down,” Hilton said. “I want them to be held accountable. And I want to be a voice for children and now adults everywhere who have had similar experiences. I want it to stop for good and I will do whatever I can to make it happen.”