Wow, this is heartbreaking. Cheryl Burke has opened up about her dark past, admitting that she was sexually assaulted as a child. Sadly, she also said that she still struggles with the abuse 20 years later.
On the TLC special, Breaking the Silence, which aired on Aug. 30, Cheryl Burke, 31, discussed the sexual abuse she faced when she was just five years old. The documentary focused upon five survivors of sexual assault. Cheryl, best known for her time spent as a pro dancer on Dancing With the Stars, recalled the period of darkness which she faced in kindergarten, when a neighbor repeatedly assaulted her. Her revelations are heartbreaking but are just as inspiring as they demonstrate such strength in the face of adversity.
“I still go through times when I’m down,” Cheryl said during Breaking the Silence. “I don’t feel like I’m that strong woman that people think I am today.” So upsetting.
Cheryl went on to depict, in slight detail, what she went through and it’s difficult to even hear. When Cheryl was young, her father moved to Thailand, and her mother remarried. Neither Cheryl’s mother nor stepfather were around much, so she had a neighbor, who was in his 60s, look after her. “He would cuddle me, he would make me watch pornographic videos,” said Cheryl. “He was kind of like that fatherly figure– I think he knew my weakness, that I was very insecure. He knew that no one was ever around.”
When Cheryl was just six, her molester was caught assaulting one of her friends, and she testified against him, an experience which Cheryl called “the scariest moment of my life, still to this day.” Again, she was just six at the time. “I couldn’t talk, my mom was there holding my hand, I was shaking and there was my molester right in front of me. It was so terrifying to see him face to face. I remember taking a lot of breaks because I would just break down. … I just did not understand or comprehend what was happening.”
— Casey Mink