DWTS pro Cheryl Burke was sexually abused as a child, and now that abuser is out of jail. His release has heightened her angst and caused her to relive old fears of the multiple molestations.
According to a report from FOXNews, Burke's molester was a close family friend and a retired mailman from their Atherton, California community. He would often pick her up from school and spend lots of time in her family's home.
"It was lots of touching," Burke explains. "He would pull my pants down in his van or he would touch me in the living room while Ima (her caregiver) was in the kitchen cooking."
Cheryl Burke's sexual abuser was finally arrested after trying to sexually assault Burke's stepsister and another family friend. Burke was six years old at the time of the arrest and actually testified in court about her own molestations.
"That was the scariest moment of my life," she says. "I knew what he did was wrong, but I wanted this older man's affection."
That's exactly how so many child sexual predators mark their prey. They hone in on a small child who needs love and affection, and they abuse that need by taking sexual advantage of the child. A small child doesn't know enough to understand that sex doesn't equal love.
After spending more than 20 years in prison, the retired mailman and sex offender has been released from jail, and that has brought the fear and angst the Dancing With the Stars professional experienced to the forefront once again.
"It creeps me out," she says. "My worst nightmare is to run into him."
Sadly, Cheryl Burke went on to spend a good portion of her life with even more abusers, although the abuse wasn't necessarily sexual in nature. She says a number of boyfriends abused her, including one who beat her regularly with a belt.
This cycle of abuse isn't unusual for people who have been sexually abused--especially as children. They unwittingly allow others to abuse them, although not sexually, as a sort of punishment for the guilt they feel over the childhood sexual abuse. The feeling that they did something wrong or somehow caused the sexual abuse often remains in the back of their minds indefinitely.
Cheryl Burke has detailed some of her abusive situations in a new book she has written. Dancing Lessons highlights both the sexual abuse she endured as a little girl, as well as the abusive boyfriends later on in her life.
Hopefully, writing this book was cathartic for Burke. Often when sexual abuse victims are able to put their words on paper and their experiences into a chronicled profile of their lives, they are able to find some relief and in turn some healing, from the horrific events in their pasts.
Kudos to Cheryl Burke for sharing the experiences of her sexual and physical abuse with others. If even one person is able to break free from the cycle of abuse as a result, the dancer's words, like her talented feet, will be worth millions.
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