Tags: carolina | haley | child | abuse

SC Gov. Haley: I Was Victim of Child Abuse

Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 02:03 PM

By Dan Weil

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that she suffered physical abuse as a child from a caregiver.

At a press conference in Greenville, S.C., Haley said she was offering her own experience to show that every community must deal with the issue, The Greenville News reports.

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

The press conference took place at Greenville Health System, where officials discussed a report with recommendations to improve the state's fight against child abuse.

Haley was born in Bamberg, S.C., the daughter of Indian immigrants. Her mother raised three children while holding down a full-time teaching job, Haley wrote in her book, "Can't Is Not an Option: My American Story."

Her mother asked a couple living in a nearby trailer to take care of Haley during mornings, the governor wrote. Her mother soon sensed that something was amiss, Haley said Monday.

"I never wanted to go," Haley said. "But she [Haley's mother] 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,” Haley said.

When her mother questioned the caregivers about it, "they packed up and they left," Haley said. "We never got to deal with it."

The South Carolina report, titled "Silent Tears," recommends that Haley appoint a bipartisan commission of lawmakers, court administrators, judges, solicitors, defense attorneys, medical and mental health professionals and, foremost, child abuse survivors or their families who have suffered long court delays.

Haley said most of those parties already are engaged on the issue, so a commission may be unnecessary.

"The interesting thing is, yes, it's something we normally would think we would do," she said. "What has been amazing is since this report has come out, everyone has started getting to work quicker than anything."

Approximately 680,000 Americans younger than 18 were victims of physical, sexual and psychological abuse in 2011, and more than 1,500 died from it, Reuters reports.

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