Gov. Haley makes rare public disclosure
July 9th, 2013
12:33 PM ET
9 months 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. rl

    It would be a lot easier to believe her if she has not declared WAR on her own gender and then thumbed her nose at the rest of us.

    July 9, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC:
    Thanks babe.
    United we stand.

    July 9, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Deist

    The cycle continues.....as the "child abused" has become the "State abuser."

    July 9, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Stan

    "She is a disgusting embarassment to the state of SC"

    I would have thought a state full of backwoods cousin lovers would be beyond the capacity to feel shame or embarassment.

    July 9, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Ginny

    Her mother left her with a random transient couple to watch her?

    July 9, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. bemused

    Coincidentally, I was listening to a really interesting bit on CBC Radio this morning about how we adult humans all across North America care much, much more about the suffering of dogs (cats, pigeons, iguanas, whatever) than we do about humans – especially if the human is an abused female child. Then, it seems, we REALLY don't give a rat's posterior.
    Hmmm ... I guess they were right on the money with that one. Who knew?

    July 9, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. tom l.

    @Aimleft
    tom I., give me a break. She is a disgusting embarassment to the state of SC, as are all the well-known wingnuts and baggers spewing forth from here. How dare this woman appear to seek sympathy, or attempt to appear sympathetic herself, to the plight of children or anyone of lesser means? She is a hypocrite and will do everything she can to cut funding for social programs, education, or anything that could help the poor and indeed, just the normal working man and woman. Your failure to see that just shows that it's "you all on the right" who really need help.

    So I guess the only women that count for you are the ones that feel exactly as you do. Perhaps she feels that the phrase "give a man a fish and he eats for a day but teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime" is valid, as many on the left. You are hurting the poor by making them more reliant on the govt. You are making them incapbable of helping themselves with your "programs". I just think it's so sad and pathetic. So give me an example of a program that she cut that could "help" the poor (I'm going to have a difficult time because your definition of help is to give someone something rather than truly helping them to be self reliant) I know when I was on unemployment that it was one of the worst things for me and my self dignity.

    July 9, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein

    Does this mean she is going to increase funding to protect children who are at risk of abuse? Is she going to get more funding to provide more safe programs to keep kids in safe places and proctected from evil people? That would be good for her to do so that children suffer what happened to her.

    July 9, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Leaving your kid with a couple living in a trailer is tantamount to reckless endangerment. Who would do this?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Aww, come on! People have to work and they need someone to watch their kids.
    I grew up in a tenement on 144th st & Brook Ave in the South Bronx.
    A trailer would've been an upgrade.
    Good and bad people live EVERYWHERE, not just tenements and trailers.

    Now that I've said that, your post made me choke with mirth!

    July 9, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Miguel

    Now she abuses Liberal Democrats...

    July 9, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Joe

    Sad but true; children are so vulnerable. I wish parents didn't have to ever let their kids out of their sight.

    July 9, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Edith

    "All children are subject to child abuse." If that's a verbatim quote I'm surprised – because it's a complete misuse of the English language. Quite obviously "all children" are NOT subject to child abuse. It would be hoped the "norm" in society is for children not to be abused. She meant that child abuse does not respect wealth or background. Bizarre that nobody at CNN has picked up on that. You're journalists!

    July 9, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. XanJester

    I guess that was just Karma getting a head start on payback for all the horrible things she has done as a repubtard.

    July 9, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC:
    Thanks babe.
    United we stand.
    --------------
    Clay Avenue and 168th Street, one block away from Webster Ave.

    July 9, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. XanJester

    I guess this was just karma getting ahead start on paying her back for all the horrible things she would do as a repubtard governor. Too bad they didn't just strangle her.

    July 9, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. swingstater

    At least one of four girls are abused, so no suprises there. And I stil kind of doubt that anyone does much of anything about it. As an example, my ex and I witnessed a child being slapped by his dad/uncle (?) while at a commuter train platform. They were on the opposite side. About 5 minutes later, we saw a police car and reported the incident. Immediately, they acted like they didn't believe us and asked us OUR names and where we lived, etc. Of course, by this time, they probably had left.

    Cops didn't care. DCF in any state is not the priority of any state. It's just not the top of anyone's list to solve this problem.

    July 9, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. The Trailer Next Door

    Even back then she kept tripping over her inflated sense of herself.

    July 9, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. swingstater

    At least one of four girls are abused, so no suprises there. And I stil kind of doubt that anyone does much of anything about it. As an example, my ex and I witnessed a child being slapped by his dad/uncle (?) while at a commuter train platform. They were on the opposite side. About 5 minutes later, we saw a police car and reported the incident. Immediately, they acted like they didn't believe us and asked us OUR names and where we lived, etc. Of course, by this time, they probably had left.

    Cops didn't care. DCF in any state is not the priority of any state. It's just not the top of anyone's list to solve.

    July 9, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Jeff

    I don't believe any of this, not one word, her parents didn't know who to contact? Yeah right. ever heard of the police? You would have to be a republican to believe this. There is no doubt in my mind they will believe her and she knows it. All a republican has to do is say it a few times and these people think it's the gospel. This kind of stuff is why out government is in such sad shape all you have to do is have an R in front of you name and they vote for you, not matter how bizarre you are.

    July 9, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. DJ Reality

    They must have dropped her on her head.

    July 9, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. steve-0

    She is exacting her revenge on the people of SCarolina

    July 9, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Andrew

    It's no wonder that she turned out to be a Republican

    July 9, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Snarky MacFee

    My sympathies, that is a completely raw deal! NO child should be subjected to ANY abuse. Not a thing funny about it.

    July 9, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. oldbones24

    She is saying, "See me I was abused and I'm fine, even great." Most abused children have to live with their abuser day in and day out for decades. She had a brief encounter, she can NOT compare herself to these children. Everyone has bad (and good) experiences in childhood.

    July 9, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Eioljg

    Regardless of the words of a politician, the political party, religion, or any other type of pronouncement, it is the result of policies that mean something real. If a group of politicians proposes or votes to cut funding for kids or quality child care for poor kids so their parents can work, then those politicians are not "pro life." Period.

    July 9, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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