DWTS Pro Cheryl Burke Gives Hope to Other Child Abuse Victims: “It’s Not the End of the Road”
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Dancing With The Stars

DWTS Pro Cheryl Burke Gives Hope to Other Child Abuse Victims: “It’s Not the End of the Road”

Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke has been open about her childhood abuse, writing candidly about it in her 2011 memoir, Dancing Lessons: How I Found Passion and Potential on the Dance Floor and in Life, and continuing to share her story to inspire others with a message of hope.

As Cheryl explained, her parents divorced when she was 2. Her mother remarried, but because both Cheryl's mom and her new husband worked full time, they hired an old family friend to watch 5-year-old Cheryl and her 9-year-old stepsister. The dancer says this family friend molested both girls for a year. Later in life, Cheryl also suffered abuse from boyfriends.

Fast forward many years, and now Cheryl is a two-time DWTS champ, but the abuse launched a pattern of insecurity and self-doubt in her life. This week, Cheryl was the keynote speaker at a benefit for CARE House, a nonprofit serving the needs of abused and neglected children in Michigan. She shared a positive message to try and help others who have been through similar trauma.

“I was always the shy girl because I was abused as a child. It took a lot of self-esteem away,” Cheryl said (via the Detroit Free Press). “But with dancing, I found the passion in my life. And that’s my message: No matter what you’ve gone through, you can’t let that take over. You must learn to move forward. ... It’s not the end of the road. You can still move on and be successful and have a career for yourself. You can still find passion in life.”

Sources: Detroit Free Press, Access Hollywood