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. JonathanL

    It is a common problem. I was approached by 5 pedophiles on the streets of NYC when I was between the ages of 10 and 16, and one actually managed to kidnap me into an empty building on 3rd avenue but I escaped before he got beyond kissing me. My mother was felt up in a public park by an upstanding member of the Catholic community, a Mr. O'Conner in Buffalo in 1929 (at the age of 7, the year her mother died), and she said a lot of the other girls had similar stories which they whispered about frequently regarding the Church clergy including little boys and girls, but they didn;t know what to do about it except warn each other. Several of her older woman friends some of whom were of upper class families names you may have heard of, were also abused as minors. I feel lucky to have escaped being raped growing up even though I lived in an upper class neighborhood. I can't imagine how awful it would be to be violated by a gross, pushy, slimey, and probably bad smelling diseased (mentally and most likely physically too) rapist. My own brother, who was mentally disabled due to brain damage caused by a hospital mix up, was gang raped (sodomy) in a halfway house by two guys who first forced him to take cocaine (they said they would throw him out of the window if he told on them so they must have known they were doing something wrong). Now I hear from my daughter that kids in middle schools are commonly engaging in gang rape. My daughter I guess was lucky to have been spared gang rape until high school, whre she and one of her girl friends also were date raped (drugged and raped by a pharmacist). In fact she said most of the girls in her large school had been raped at least once (also in one of the top 3 school districts on Long Island), but they are totally afraid of going public due to social reasons.

    July 9, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. smith

    Dominican mama 4 make no logical sense you praise, bless and sho compassion towards one victim of child abuse and take pot shots at another victim. smh

    July 9, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Virginia

    at least 3 out of 4 girls are abused at least two out of 4 men are abused

    July 9, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Annie

    How convenient Gov Haley!!! I guess thats why you hate women!! Maybe it was a female who abused you????? You have some issues. You need therapy then maybe you will be able to deal with your hatred!!!!!!

    July 9, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Virginia

    its a good thing the liberals do seem to care to put a stop to the women getting raped, now hopefully and i wouldn't understand why would they not care equally for the well being of children.

    July 9, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. VEW2012

    Didn't she appoint a Nazi white-supremacist as her campaign manager?

    Plus, she cut funding by 37% for Rape Crisis Clinics, cut funding for victims of domestic violence programs by 1/2 million. South Carolina was already failing women and children before she became governor, its record was grim and with the cuts it is even more so. The state's rape rate has exceeded the national average every year since 1982, and the murder rate for women of domestic violence is one of the highest in the nation.

    She needs to quit talking about what happened to her ages ago, and show she means what she says by putting the money for funding where it is needed to correct the problem. Then she can talk about "Oh poor me!" That is called: "putting ones money where their mouth is." In this case it is putting the states resources where they are needed to correct the problem....instead of all talk no action.

    July 9, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. mitch

    Too much hatred. All you people can do is hate and tear apart this woman. The fact that she is Republican should have nothing to do with the issue of abuse. My little brother and I were abused when I was 3. My brother died and I had a fractured skull. I do all I can to help abused children and I believe that we all as a community should do everything to prevent abuses to children. Discipline and abuse are 2 different things and can at times can become the same thing when taken too far. I can go on and on about this subject but I don't have the space or the time to do so. Regardless of who she is and what party she is with we all should support her and help her and all other politicians make the right laws for longer prison terms for the abusers and help and support for the abused.

    July 9, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Jacob Ezekial

    Reading the comments on this thread after a female Governor of SC opens up about her childhood abuse is utterly appalling.

    The rabies bitten political hacks are on both sides of the aisle and are pretty much inhuman.

    July 9, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    And now, she enjoys abusing women herself.

    July 9, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. quid est veritas

    sad to see that so many people are still stuck in the "you can't be a real woman or minority unless you're a liberal democrat" mentality.

    July 9, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Virginia

    so its all made up by the liberal left to say that ' a child has being drooped on their head after speaking up about child abuse" stupid liberals...

    July 9, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. O Reber

    I deplore her views as a governor? What kind of family did she come from to support those current views? Help the lowliest, not the rich. The middle class, many of them came from the lowliest. Help them.

    July 9, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Virginia

    my daughter was drug up and date rape,,,she won't talk much about and, she didn't report due to the social stigma of coming out and saying who the criminal is, or other attacking the victim as is happening here on this unscrupulous people.

    July 9, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. What?

    Things just don't add up, like most things Right Wingers say and do. The School Teacher Mom did'nt ask for Names,did'nt write down car license or Trailer license, so when they left it was like, well they left how can we find them now? Repubs. shed there skin twice a Year, I'm not buying this Book selling Story.

    July 9, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. timelord7202

    So? I was abused, by many. Maybe I should run for public office, regardless of political party affiliation claimed.

    July 9, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    So it's okay for her to abuse her state and the people of the US?
    We have all gone through "something" in our lives. Not all of us turn out to be a bunch of turnips!
    These rethugs always seem to have a "reason" or, better yet, excuse to hate everyone (women, gays, poor, seniors, veterans, children).
    Sorry, don't feel it missy.

    July 9, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. us_1776

    That's ok Haley.

    I was abused by the GOP wars.


    July 9, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Joe

    I wish people would just their personal issues to themselves. Everybody thinks that over sharing is good.

    July 9, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Kelly Kent-Parcell

    They didn't know what to do about it? How about calling the police? Lame brains!

    July 9, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. BeenThereDoneThat

    I have never read such poorly educated people ranting and spewing hate in my entire life.

    When a man or woman of any race, ethnicity, color, social background, announces to other people that they were abused as children, they do so AFTER therapy, and they do so with HOPE to help others in any small way possible.

    History suggests that people who are uncomfortable with or outright hateful of those, who come forward, are themselves living lives, built on lies and denial, either of the abuse they experienced, OR the abuse they have heaped onto innocent children.

    July 9, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. Vijay

    Every kid in the world get abused by their parents. That depends on the level of abuse. she is a Indian American, obviously she will be abused by her parents. In India that is common. I was abused when i am kid, because of that I learnt how not to abuse my kid. My Kid is 7 yrs old, never abused her so far and will not... Surely Nikki Haley would have abused her kids....

    July 9, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Johnny Bandana


    July 9, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. pkfops

    "a nearby couple living in a trailer"

    LOL .....................

    July 9, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. corndog man

    So many lib feminists on here hating on Haley because she is conservative. I guess you only applaud other women when they agree with you? Sounds like a pretty bigoted and fragile movement.

    July 9, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. KenBlack

    As a South Carolina resident I can tell you all, this woman is not only a frequent liar but also a pathological hypocrite. She may have been abused and, if so, regardless of political affiliation now, she didn't deserve that as a child, NO child should be abused! However, it would not surprise me if this were a made up story Haley told to gain support because she has done it before! Also, as others have commented, she is a complete hypocrite, claiming to be a victim of abuse and wanting to end abuse when she cut funding for rape crisis support and shelters in order to send money to her and her pals in the legislatures' own political and personal causes. She has also made many other decisions as governor that has only further hurt and set South Carolinians back more than we already are financially, culturally, educationally and in terms of equal rights! Bottom line, as governor she has been a bigoted, hypocritical, dishonest leader who has only made decisions that benefit herself, friends and her political allies!

    July 9, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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