Nikki Haley opens up on childhood abuse

In a speech Monday night, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said that she had been abused as a child by a day-care provider.

“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 governor was speaking at a news conference in Greenville where officials discussed Silent Tears, a report on child sex abuse in South Carolina prepared by the National Child Protection Training Center.

In her book "Can't Is Not an Option: My American Story," Haley wrote about living in a trailer in Bramberg and being watched by a nearby couple while her mother worked.

"My mom sensed something was wrong, I never wanted to go. But she didn't know quite what it was and didn't think anything of it," Haley said Monday. "And then one day I came home and I had a lot of bruises and a lot of issues. When she confronted the couple that was taking care of me they packed up and they left. So we never got to deal with it."

In her book, Haley says years later, when she walked by the couple's trailer, she "would still get a sick feeling in my stomach." But until her mother told her, she did not know why.

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

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Rachel Weiner · July 9, 2013