Cheryl Burke’s new book “Dancing Lessons” has plenty of revelations. However, the most startling one is definitely the one about how she was molested by a family friend beginning at age 5 and physically abused by two ex-boyfriends.
I’m telling my story,” Burke told People. “They’re not secrets. There’s no shame.”
Burke decided to open up about the tragic events from her childhood as she learned that her abuser had been released after a 20 year sentence and says now she is terrified she might run into him.
“It creeps me out,” she said. “My worst nightmare is to run into him. Not until he dies will I be able to not to worry.”
The abuser was a retired mailman who picked Burke up from school. The assaults began when she was 5.
Burke said she didn’t realize that the man’s behavior was inappropriate. “I felt guilty for wanting his love and affection,” she remembered.
However, the abuse had repercussions as she was left with feelings of self loathing.
“I felt disgusted with myself for the longest time,” she said.
When her attacker was eventually accused of targeting other children, Burke, who was aged six at the time, gave evidence at her abusers trial and saw him locked up for more than 20 years.
“I saw his face and lawyers were asking me these questions and I was like, ‘What am I doing? Did he even do anything wrong?’” the dancer said.
“If I can help just one person,” Burke told People, “for me that’s all that matters.”
Image source: ABC