Cheryl Burke is bravely opening up about the sexual abuse she faced as a young child.
During last night's new TLC documentary Breaking the Silence, the former Dancing with the Stars pro, 31, revealed she was previously molested by a neighbor. "I still go through times when I'm down. I don't feel like I'm that strong woman that people think I am today," she began. I'm only human, and sometimes the stuff I've gone through, I think about all the time, and it just brings me back."
#TBT to that time I coordinated my outfit with the bedspread #throwback #throwbackthursday A photo posted by Cheryl Burke (@cherylburke) on May 14, 2015 at 11:45am PDT
#TBT to that time I coordinated my outfit with the bedspread #throwback #throwbackthursday
A photo posted by Cheryl Burke (@cherylburke) on May 14, 2015 at 11:45am PDT
When Cheryl was a little girl, her father moved to Thailand and her mother subsequently remarried, the dancer explained. The star's mother then asked a neighbor in his 60s to look after Cheryl — then just kindergarten-age — after school.
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"He would cuddle me, he would make me watch pornographic videos. 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," Cheryl said.
Cheryl with partner Antonio Sabàto, Jr. on DWTS in 2014. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
"He would have me come sit next to him and make him feel comfortable because sometimes he would feel lonely," she continued. "I couldn't speak up for myself. It was hard for me to say no. In a weird way it was like I didn't want to hurt him."
When Cheryl's abuser was caught trying to molest one of her friends, she testified against the man and he was later sentenced to 20 years in prison. It was "the scariest moment of my life, still to this day," Cheryl said of appearing in court at just six-years-old. "[But] I'm proof that you can actually move on from this."
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