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Cheryl Burke Struggled to Understand She Was Molested as Child

January 27, 2011, 4:15 am GMT

Opening up about the molestation she first suffered at five years old, the 'Dancing with the Stars' dancer reveals she initially had no idea why his behavior was considered improper.

Cheryl Burke

Professional dancer and U.S. reality TV star Cheryl Burke has opened up about the molestation horror she suffered as a child in a bid to help others who have struggled through similar experiences. The "Dancing with the Stars" regular tells all in her new book, "Dancing Lessons", revealing she was first assaulted at the age of five by a retired mailman in her neighborhood in San Francisco, California.

The molestation continued for some time and it was only when he was accused of preying on other children that Burke's own abuse was discovered, although the confused kid struggled to understand why his behavior was so inappropriate. He was arrested and put on trial and Burke was among the witnesses called to testify during the court proceedings, reports People magazine.

She writes in her book, "I felt guilty for wanting his love and affection. (Testifying) was the hardest thing I've ever done... 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?' " He was convicted of the crimes and imprisoned, and it was only years later that Burke managed to come to terms with the seriousness of the situation.

And she's been inspired to speak out about her child abuse to show others that they too can overcome the trauma. She says, "I'm telling my story. They're not secrets. There's no shame... If I can help just one person, for me that's all that matters."

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