Paris Hilton wants other survivors of childhood abuse to "use your voice" and speak out as she did.
The 40-year-old TV personality spoke at an event for non-profit organisation One Young World of her pride at taking the decision to come forward with allegations against a school she attended as a teenager.
Hilton claimed last year that she experienced psychological trauma at a correctional school in Utah during the 1990s, alleging she was strip-searched, put in exclusion rooms and that she and other students were drugged with unknown medications.
At the One Young World event, Hilton said: "For me it was so traumatic that I didn’t speak about it for 20 years, because what I went through was just so horrible that I didn’t even want to think that it was real."
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Hilton said that taking the decision to speak her truth was "one of the most empowering moments of my life".
The socialite said her younger self would be proud of her for speaking out and said she has "turned my pain into a purpose" since she went public with her allegations.
She added: "It’s so healing and it’s so important for all of us to really expose these people for what they’re doing so it doesn’t happen any more."
The institution at the centre of Hilton's claims, Provo Canyon School, has faced allegations of abuse throughout its history, with recording artist Kat Von D also among those to make claims of misconduct.
Hilton has connected her trauma from her time at Provo Canyon School to subsequent problems in her life, including the sex tape scandal she experienced in 2003.
"That would never have happened if I hadn't gone to that school," Hilton said last year, explaining she never would have formed a relationship with Rick Salomon, who leaked the video.
She added: "I never would have let someone like that in my life if I hadn't gone through such experiences. And therefore, I would have never put myself in that situation.
"But I just wanted love so bad. I didn't really know. I was so naïve. And I trusted the wrong person. And that's something I'll regret for the rest of my life."
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