In a lengthy video, the tattoo artist says that the “traumatic six months” she spent at the Provo Canyon School in Utah eventually led to PTSD and addiction.
Hilton recently released her tell-all documentary This Is Paris. In the film, Hilton details the physical and mental abuse she experienced as a teenager at the Utah school. Now, Kat Von D is also speaking out about her experiences at the very same institution.
In a nearly 24-minute video on Instagram, Von D says she spent six months at the Provo Canyon School when she was 15 and 16.
“I spent those six 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,'” she says. “And cannot believe this place is STILL OPERATING.”
She starts the video off by saying that Provo Canyon isn’t actually a school, but more of a “fucking lockdown facility.” Von D shares that she grew up in a conservative household and her interests and appearance soon began to concern her parents.
“I was brought up in a pretty conservative household,” she says. “And I think my parents were very worried about me once I started listening to punk rock music and started to look a little bit different than the other kids at school or at church. It just raised a lot of red flags for them. I think that they were just terrified that I was going down the wrong path.”
Around that time, she had dropped out of high school to start tattooing full-time. Her life decisions and interests eventually led to a family therapist recommending that she be sent to Provo Canyon.
“You know, I started tattooing and dropped out of high school and I think they just didn’t know what to do with me,” Von D continues. “Someone, I am pretty certain it was a family therapist that recommended they take me to this place and commit me to Provo Canyon and obviously this was without my knowledge.”
She goes on to say that three people entered her room one night and ordered her to get dressed. After being threatened to be handcuffed, she was eventually blindfolded, put on a plane and taken to the school without warning.
When she arrived, she gave blood, stool and urine samples. Soon after, she was told by a counselor that she had contracted HIV from her tattoo work, which her 15-year-old self believed at the time. Von D later says that she felt the diagnosis was a “scare tactic” to get her to stop tattooing.
Although Von D suffered intense trauma and mental abuse, she says she was “spared of the sexual abuse and the physical abuse” that others endured. As well, she says she “definitely saw” others being force-fed medication and dealing with other types of the abuse.
Following her six months at Provo Canyon, she experienced severe PTSD and her time there was “the root” of her future alcoholism and drug use. Despite all of this, Von D says she is now 13 years sober.
Kat Von D’s full video is available to watch below.
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Thank you, @parishilton for giving me the courage to share about being locked up for half a year, without ever seeing the sun, at Provo Canyon School in Utah. 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. 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. 🖤 #breakingcodesilence
Hilton has since reshared Kat Von D’s video and thanked her for her courage to tell her own story.
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On behalf of all the survivors and myself, I want to send a huge thank you to @TheKatVonD for being so courageous, open and honest telling your story. In tears watching and listening to what you went through. 💔😢 Bringing back even more of the horrible memories I have blocked out for so many years. I can relate to you in so many ways. Like you, I have always felt so ashamed to tell anyone about this. But it's not us who should be ashamed. We were only children. The people who work at and run these places are the ones who should be ashamed. Thank you for helping shine a light with me on this very important movement. No child should have to ever experience anything like this. 💔 And I am going to do everything in my power to shut down Provo and all the other places like it. Thank you for #BreakingCodeSilence 🙌 This is going to empower so many other survivors to let them know they are not alone and also expose these evil people. You are so brave, inspiring, strong and beautiful. I am so proud of you and so happy to have connected with you. I know that by you, myself and all the other survivors coming forward with their stories is going to make an impact and stop this from happening to other children. Sending you so much love and gratitude. 🙌 Love you #SurvivorWarrior! And to anyone reading this please help support our movement and go sign the petition at www.changedotorg/shutdownprovo 🙏 #UnitedWithOneVoice #iSeeYouSurvivor #BreakingCodeSilence 🙌
Have you watched This Is Paris yet? Let us know in the comments below.