Gov. Haley makes rare public disclosure
July 9th, 2013
12:33 PM ET
1 year ago

Gov. Haley makes rare public disclosure

(CNN) – In a rare moment on Monday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley shared publicly her experience being abused as a child.

Speaking at a press conference in Greenville on the state's efforts to combat child abuse, the Republican governor relayed her story, saying violence against children can happen in any community.

"It doesn't matter your background, it doesn't matter your education, it doesn't matter the wealth of your family," Haley said, according to The State newspaper. "Every child is subject to child abuse."

While Haley has previously disclosed her story in her book, "Can't Is Not an Option: My American Story," it's rare for the first-term governor to talk openly about it in a public setting.

When Haley was young, her mother asked a nearby couple living in a trailer to care of Haley in the morning while she worked. However, after a few days, her mother sensed Haley was uncomfortable.

"I never wanted to go," Haley said Monday. "But she didn't know quite what it was and didn't think anything of it."

"One day I came home and I had a lot of bruises and a lot of issues," she added.

The couple quickly packed up and left after Haley's mother confronted them about her concerns. "They packed up and they left," Haley said. "We never got to deal with it."

Monday's press conference was held to promote a study called Silent Tears, which provides South Carolina with a number of recommendations for improving child abuse prevention and response, according to The State.

"When it happened to me, my parents didn't know what to do," she said. "They didn't know who to go to. No one knew how to handle it."

– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Nikki Haley • South Carolina
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "Every child is subject to child abuse."
    ---------------------------------------------
    As is every woman susceptible to being raped and getting pregnant. I don't want to hear your hypocritical mambo jambo Nicki!

    July 9, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Anderson

    Haven't you notice. They tell such stories when it's close to time for reelection. They really think the American people are stupid.

    July 9, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. California Gary

    There are a lot of root causes that evolve into child abuse........not the least of which involve families too poor to support and feed their families appropriately. That's why, especially in a down economic environment, it is important to have strong social programs available to those in need. The very kind of programs that GOP governors like Nikki Haley try to cut to the bone. You're right Nikki........child abuse can happen anywhere and at any time. Are you doing all you can to prevent it? I think not.......

    July 9, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "When it happened to me, my parents didn't know what to do," she said. "They didn't know who to go to. No one knew how to handle it."

    As Governor, has Haley promoted programs to help others "handle" similar situations such as hers in her South Carolina communities? Indeed, has she EVER promoted this "cause" to date in her political career?

    Besides writing a book, that is.

    July 9, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    One day I came home and I had a lot of bruises and a lot of issues," she added
    -------------------------------------------------
    So what happened? How was she abused? Sexually? Physically? What happened?
    Are we to buy the book to find out?

    July 9, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Tony in Maine

    I think the "I was an abused child" is in chapter 1 of the RNC playbook. True or not, Maine's LePage (lovingly refered to as LeVeto) trots out domestic abuse every so often – usually when even he realizes he's stepped in it again. We can expect something from Scott Walker about being bullied as a pre-teen maybe by LePage.

    Domestic abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, and bullying are all reprehensible and totally unassailable even by the ultra-liberal press and those mean old Democrats, so conservatives can safely add that to the list of flags to wave alongside Old Glory, Mom, and Apple Pie.

    July 9, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    One day I came home and I had a lot of bruises and a lot of issues," she added
    -----------------
    Are we to buy the book to find out?
    ------------------

    Too funny! That was my first thought as well. I think I'm going to give Nikki's book promotion thingy a "thanks, but no thanks".

    July 9, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Ned Meyers

    Anyone who abuses a child or touches them in appropriately should receive capital punishment. This should be accomplished at the federal level. If Obama wants to make his mark, he needs to stop working on untenable issues and work with congress on this legislation.

    July 9, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. smith

    wow..nice comments...if Haley was a dem. all of you would be saying how strong she is and an inspiration. Leave politics on the sideline when it comes to issuses such as this one.

    July 9, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Ace

    What a crock.

    July 9, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. bdmacg

    Her "explanation" leaves more questions than answers. What a lovely plea for sympathy. Is there an election coming up?

    July 9, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    if Haley was a dem. all of you would be saying how strong she is and an inspiration. Leave politics on the sideline when it comes to issuses such as this one.
    -----------------------------------------------
    Oh give me a break! Why are we just now hearing about this "abuse?" Did she have some sort of epiphany?

    July 9, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. z&hcats

    Do you want to gain a sympathy vote, Haley? Do you really care about the other children aside from yours?
    Her records show who she is,regardless the name of the party.

    July 9, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Jim in PA

    If you really want to know what any politician thinks about the vulnerability of children, closely inspect their voting record on issues such as social services, education, and children's health care. This is a better reflection of their values than anything they say in an election season.

    July 9, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Michael Benjamin

    Sounds like a pretty good campaign strategy. How convenient the abusers just disappeared.

    July 9, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Guess

    Did she really have to say trailer?, or is that her way of giving an eye wink to the neocons while telling her tale. why was it important to make it known it happened in a trailer.

    July 9, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. BBMad

    I'm from the same small town as Nikki and I find it hard to believe that her mother (a school teacher at the time) didn't report this abuse and prosecute it to the fullest extent possible. I agree with some of the other posters that this sounds either like a political ploy or a buy my book scam. Then again, what can you expect from someone who changes their name to fit into the political mainstream (Nikki is not her given name).

    July 9, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Domestic abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, and bullying are all reprehensible and totally unassailable even by the ultra-liberal press and those mean old Democrats, so conservatives can safely add that to the list of flags to wave alongside Old Glory, Mom, and Apple Pie
    -------------------------------------------------
    ....And the Bible, don't forget the Bible.

    July 9, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I think I'm going to give Nikki's book promotion thingy a "thanks, but no thanks".
    -------------------------------------------------
    Ditto.
    Meanwhile....we're going to rightwing hell for seeing the humor in this too transparent book pitch.
    If you get there first save me seat and a glass of water!

    July 9, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. mole man

    Is that the reason she is a Republican?

    July 9, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. California Gary

    @smith......unfortunately, one can't "leave politics out of an issue like this" when a certain political party elevates social issues to the forefront of their agenda........and continues to try to cut programs that address those same social issues.

    July 9, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Bob

    That doesn't excuse her horrid behavior, and her many lies.

    July 9, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Bob

    And now she is abusing the citizens of South Carolina.

    Nice.

    July 9, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is that the reason she is a Republican?
    -------------------------------------------------
    They say that trauma make you do things that you wouldn't normally do. So that would explain it.

    July 9, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. tom l.

    I love how it's ok to pick on a minority woman and question her integrity just because she has an R next to her name. This is an inspirational woman who has accomplished a great deal. You all on the left really need help.

    July 9, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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