By Ben Hamill – November 26 2020
U.S. boarding schools for so-called troubled teens are thought to currently house roughly 40,000 children across their facilities – many of whom are Canadian children sent south of the border by parents in search of secure housing and mental health help for difficult children. And it’s at one of these very facilities B.C. resident Juli-Ann Aaron says she experienced the sort of trauma and ridicule no parent should be willing to put their child through.
But Julie isn’t the only one speaking out against troubled-teen facilities in the U.S., and in particular the facility where she was held against her will for more than a year beginning in 1998, the controversial Provo Canyon. Many others have over the years tried to shine a light on the atrocities going on at the psychiatric youth residential treatment center – including Hollywood red-carpet celebrity superstar, Paris Hilton.
Doccie Allowed Her To Talk
Aaron says the memories really came back to haunt her when Hilton in September released her documentary, “This is Paris”. Hilton in her documentary speaks publicly about the atrocities that she was made to endure and face during her time at Provo Canyon and other similar programs.
Since Aaron has wanted to tell her story for the past 20 years, Hilton’s documentary had acted as the final push for her to open up about what had happened to her whilst spending time in the program at Provo Canyon alongside the Simple Life star.
Only 16 when admitted to the Utah facility for the first time, Aaron’s recollections about what happened to her and to Hilton and others are at times, hair-raising. She remembers how while cleaning toilet bowls side by side, and sitting down to greasy, unhealthy meals, they (Aaron and Paris) would dream about the future and even about the possibility of an escape from the facility. Aaron says Hilton’s energy was one of the only things that ever managed to penetrate the fog of medication clogging her own thoughts and feelings.
Medication Was To Punish
Medication, believes Aaron, was an actual part of the intended punishment. Intended to keep the residents from experiencing any real feelings or emotions, the medication also caused her to gain a lot of weight, which in turn had a massive impact on her own sense of self-worth.
Several facilities such as the one in Utah have appeared on government’s radar over the past 3 decades, with stories of horrific abuse and neglect at the order of the day. However, despite the uncovering of literally thousands of allegations of abuse by more than 1,600 members of staff across 33 U.S. states, government has yet to impose upon the troubled-teen industry any form of federal oversight.
And it’s all to the detriment of people like Aaron, Hilton, and the thousands more who have similar stories to tell.