07/09/2013 10:37 am ET Updated Jul 09, 2013

Nikki Haley Suffered Child Abuse: 'No One Knew How To Handle It'

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) opened up Monday about abuse she endured as a child, holding a press conference to discuss a report geared toward improving her state's response to the issue.

Appearing at Greenville Health System Children's Hospital, Haley stressed the importance of the Silent Tears study, a 336-page filing that includes recommended steps for South Carolina to tackle child abuse.

“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 Greer-Taylors (S.C.) Patch. “Every child is subject to child abuse.”

Haley discussed her own battle, recalling physical abuse she suffered from a day care provider. According to the Greenville (S.C.) News, her mother was a full-time teacher juggling three kids, and had to rely on a nearby couple to watch Haley in the mornings. After just a few days, Haley said she "never wanted to go," flagging that something was wrong.

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

Released in late May, Silent Tears included a number of suggestions, ranging from a stronger mandated reporting system, to expanded state prevention initiatives and training. Simpsonville (S.C.) Patch reported that founder Bob Castellani gave $250,000 to spearhead the assessment, which received backing from the National Child Protection Training Center.

"One day God just came to us and told us to get involved, and we did," Castellani said in late May.



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