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

    Judging from many of the comments it seems that only liberals can suffer from abuse. Nor can you be a strong must be what liberal men and women say you should be.

    July 9, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Dick46

    South Carolina executed a 14 year old child in the late 40's. That's state sponsored child abuse. No mention of that fact at the press conference. I wonder why.

    July 9, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Ron in SC

    Who cares? What does that have to do with your terrible tenure as gov.? Either you are there to work for the people of your state or for your party. So far the only entity your working for is GOP/Tea Party.

    July 9, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Kevin

    That doesn't give him a right to Pardon all those Murderers and all those criminals like he did. So sad.

    July 9, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Kevin

    Oh, that was Haley Barbour...

    July 9, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. general tso

    @Rudy I so sorry Massa Rudy for saying anything that was not blindly pro-Democratic. I be goin' on back to my quarters now.

    July 9, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. 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.

    July 9, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Virginia

    there in only one type of female child, among the 5 difference of character that is selected to unsure sexual child abuse, why is this child selected among the rest? maybe cause its the only one who represents some competition to the alpha female, the male child who is selected for this abused, is selected for the purpose of slaving him to the alpha female...never a succes cause he is the one who stand to protect the female child abused victim internally...the rapiest is a different case he too was force raped on the orders of the alpha female...this alpha chick its a nuts case for every one to suffer her sickness she was beaten by this one male and she keeps her anger and revenge in her mind for a life time...she damages all the rest of society and it isn't just one female who acts up this sick manner...her ultimate motive is control and dominance over the l wife of others...she is the one that give women the name of evil, but not all women are like her...but she is wolf in sheep clothing.

    July 9, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Virginia

    I am proud of Haley • South Carolina

    she is making a difference to stop this alpha female from slaving men kind by child sexual abuse, so we can all grow up to be mature adults. as every one else.

    July 9, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    @Dominican Mama.
    Thank you for your kind words. No 8 year old should have to sleep with their legs clamped together just so some freak doesn't get in bed behind you and abuse you. I do regret never telling my grandmother. Actually I buried it deep inside me until one day at the beach. I was about 19, and my boyfriend and I were getting out of the pool when I looked up and there he was sitting and watching me. I grabbed my towel and ran. That's when it all came back to me. Just talking about this subject still gets me emotional.

    July 9, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. smith

    It just get worse on she os lying. You libs get so mad when a woman or minority is repub. because it shows all the lies and hate you really spew. You go around trying to say that the GOP is nothing but rich white men but Haley, Cain, Rubio, Rice, West and etc prove you wrong. So what do you them tokens, uncle tom or whatever. Libs have no shame.

    July 9, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. Virginia

    When i hear of any one attacking in any manner someone who has being abused as a child it makes me think of them as child abuser who want to be excuse for their criminal behavior i have no sympathy for this people cause i think of them as somehow approving or endorsing child abuse of any for...shame on you all criticizing Nikki for the crime adults were guilty off...Haley has grown into a mature women capable as an adult of being successful and being a voice for all those children who's abuser have attempted to silence them...

    July 9, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Erik

    Boo Hoo. She is a piece of rubbish. Now she steals from the people of SC. What a disgusting state and Governor. An attorney that made up the story for attention.

    July 9, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. JTodd

    I cannot believe the hard-heartedness that some posters are showing here. Just because you don't agree politically with someone does not justify these comments. Some of these come across as celebration that a political opponent was abused, as a child. If that is the case, those posters have exposed themselves as a sub-human being.

    July 9, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. RS

    As a survivor of child abuse at the hands of a step parent I know that it can be very difficult to acknowledge to others as sometimes you feel that you were the cause. I trust that no matter what party she is that she is telling the truth. My prayer is that what she is doing in South Carolina can be done all over our nation in each state to eliminate child abuse. Some that have posted on this story seem to not understand what it is like to be abused, as it can leave a lasting scare on someone's life.

    July 9, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. TKO

    @Chicago: Huh? What the . . . heck. . . are you talking about? More Bagger inanities . . .

    July 9, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Guest

    I live in South Carolina. Despite the fact that I am a registered Republican, I think Nikki Haley is an embarrassment to our state. She has repeatedly demonstrated that she is simply not smart enough to run a state. Things like her hiring her daughter for a patronage job at the capitol gift shop are trivial; it's the rest of what she does (including how every time she opens her mouth, she jams both feet in it) that are important. She just plain isn't qualified.

    Example: As justification for a drug-testing law, she claimed that 50% of the job applicants at the Savannah River Site (a big local employer, about 10k people at the time) failed drug tests, and the other 50% were functionally illiterate. Except they don't give drug tests to people until after they are hired. 50% of applicants couldn't fail drug tests because APPLICANTS ARE NOT TESTED (and virtually none of the people who are tested fail). When this was pointed out to her by everyone from the head of SRS down to contract employees, she said, well, some contractor whose name she couldn't remember told her that at some political meet-and-greet. So either she's making policy based on what some random person who was pulling numbers out of his rear tells her, without doing any checking whatsoever), or she's flat-out lying about the whole thing. Sadly, it's actually probably the former. I think I'd rather have a liar for a governor than a fool.

    South Carolina politics is weird. But we deserve better than Nikki Haley.

    (p.s. claiming being "uncomfortable" with a short-time caretaker, and even having a few bruises, all of which she apparently had to be told about by her parents because she was too young to remember, is in the same league as the children who are starved, beaten, raped, and murdered by their own parents is just plain insulting to the survivors of that kind of horrific abuse. That's like me saying I understand how someone in a wheelchair feels because I've got a bum knee and I limp)

    July 9, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Bob

    There's are no political lines when it comes to child abuse.

    July 9, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Virginia

    sorry! but the alpha female was sodomized so she lost all concept of respect of the human race she had every one just he same but is afraid of isolation so you will find her always as the lead of the crowed. pretending to be submissive but in full control of all the males and females in the party, or group of people..i guess she didn't want this to be known...

    July 9, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. bvilleyellowdog

    Many abused end up abusers themselves. She does it on a massive public scale.

    July 9, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. Juan

    @Dick46: What was this child convicted of? I've heard of kids committing acts so heinous as to cause full grown and hardened adults to weep.

    July 9, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Virginia

    When a wrong is done, you'd think that if you didn't get caught you'd get away with it but the irony is that as the world is round what you do has being done by someone with your character before and it turn back to you harming you even before you commit the crime you do in the be best to resist the temptation of being evil in the hopes that you get spare form the evil that will befall you by your ancestors who behaved as you in the past.

    this being the reason why Believing in God does work and keep you of harms way...only if you keep the principals stated in the bible do now harm and love other as you love yourself. if you don't love your self find the reason to do so...and stop causing other harm.

    July 9, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Wake Up People!
    You're right about that. No child ( or adult for that matter) should have to live with that kind of terror; but especially a child unable to change their circumstances, and completely trusting and dependent on the adults in their lives.
    I cannot bring myself to say the old cliche " I can only imagine" because quite frankly I can't. I can't imagine the terror, fear, the whole gamut of emotions that you must've have felt upon seeing the bastard that day at the pool.
    It appears to me from your posts that you have not let yourself be shaped or defined by that particular set of circumstances in your past.
    I for one applaud your fortitude.
    God bless babe.

    July 9, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Leaving your kid with a couple living in a trailer is tantamount to reckless endangerment. Who would do this?

    July 9, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Wake up People!

    Thank you Dominican Mama!

    I'm a firm believer in If it don't kill you, it just makes you stronger!!

    July 9, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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