cheryl burke dancing with the stars 'Dancing With the Stars' Cheryl Burke speaks out on domestic violence, 4 inch heelsCheryl Burke might be best known as the winningest “Dancing With the Stars” pro (alongside Derek Hough), but she’s also an outspoken advocate for those confronted with domestic violence.

A survivor herself, Burke recently teamed up with the Allstate Foundation for “Tell a Gal Pal,” a campaign encouraging abused women to reach out to their friends.

“It’s something I’d been through many years ago,” Burke tells Zap2it, “and I know how it feels to be victim of domestic violence. Sometimes you get confused and don’t know what to do. For me, the best thing I could have done was to tell a gal pal.”

Burke credits her friends with getting her out of her situation, but she knows its a subject many are afraid to bring up. “I have a voice [with “Dancing With the Stars],” says Burke, “and I have certain fans that watch the show — especially women — that may be going through it. It’s important for me to be able to say this to anyone dealing with something like this.”

That’s one of the reasons why Burke decided to publicly address her own struggle, something she says is firmly in her past but also a matter she continuously learns how to deal with.  An estimated 7 out of 10 Americans knows someone who’s been a victim of domestic violence at one point in their lives,  yet it they don’t always know it — one reason why Burke’s campaign includes different media, including a PSA, a radio tour, a Facebook page and a website:

As for the current season of “DWTS,” Burke is loving her time with new partner Rick Fox — if not the wardrobe his height demands of her.

“My body is definitely feeling it right now,” says Burke. ” I have to be in four-inch heels all day. It’s not easy, but you have to do what you have to do — and the higher I can get up to Rick’s level, the better.”

Even with the heels, she’s having an easier go of it during week two. “We’re doing the jive this week, which isn’t as bad,” she admits. “We don’t have to stay in ballroom hold, instead of being stuck together the whole dance.”

Also comforting her aching feet is their early status as favorites. “He’s really good, and he really wants it. We both do.”

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Photo credit: ABC

Posted by:Mikey O'Connell