Cheryl Burke is one of the top pros on “Dancing With the Stars” having won the competition not once, but twice. Unfortunately, she is also a survivor of child abuse. Cheryl is using her DWTS fame as a platform from which she can share her story and bring awareness to the issues of child abuse and neglect.
Cheryl Burke recently told her story of child abuse at a benefit luncheon for the CARE House of Oakland County, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected children. It was the second time she has shared publicly since the release of her autobiography “Dancing Lessons: How I Found Passion and Potential on the Dance Floor and in Life.”
Cheryl Burke was molested as a child. The abuse came through a close friend of the family and it cost her two years of her young life. She was petrified as her abuser threatened her with horrible things that would happen if she ever told anyone.
Despite the threats, Cheryl finally told her parents about the abuse and later had the courage to testify against her abuser in court. He was convicted and served almost 20 years.
Sadly, child abuse statistics say that most abused children are not like Cheryl Burke. They don’t come forward and don’t get the proper care they need to overcome the psychological and physical damage they have suffered.
Cheryl Burke was one of the lucky ones. She had courage, she was believed and her parents put her in therapy as soon as she came forward. Cheryl believes that this therapy, combined with dancing, heped her heal.
“Be able to overcome adversity when challenges come your way,” she said. “You can either get better or get bitter.”
You can see Cheryl Burke on the 16th season of “Dancing With the Stars” beginning Monday, March 18, at 8 p.m. eastern on ABC.