Nikki Haley, Republican governor of South Carolina, spoke Monday about her personal experience of being abused when she was a child. She was announcing the results of a new report on child abuse containing recommendations that will be introduced as new legislation in her state.
Any child can be a victim of child abuse, Haley said, regardless of their family's income or education.
"It was a daycare provider that was taking care of me," she recalled, according to the community-based news website Greer-Taylors Patch. My mom sensed something was wrong, I never wanted to go. She didn't know quite what it was and then one day I came home and I had a lot of bruises and a lot of issues. And when she confronted the couple who was taking care of me, they packed up and they left and so we never got to deal with it."
Haley was at a Greenville, S.C., press conference discussing the results of a 336-page report conducted by Silent Tears, a nonprofit organization funded by philanthropists Bob and Lisa Castellani.
About one in four women and one in six men are sexually abused before adulthood, and about 73 percent of victims wait at least a year to report the abuse, Silent Tears notes.
The report makes many suggestions for the state, including improvements in the training of health care workers so they can detect problems early, improving how evidence is collected and the mandated reporting system, and developing partnerships between faith groups and child-protection communities.
State Rep. Bruce Bannister and state Sen. Mike Fair said they will introduce legislation in the South Carolina legislature's next session based upon the report's recommendations.
Haley's press conference was not the first time she revealed that she was abused as a child. She wrote about it in her 2012 autobiography, Can't Is Not an Option: My American Story.