R.A. Dickey poses for photos during MLB photo day. (March...

R.A. Dickey poses for photos during MLB photo day. (March 2, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

R.A. Dickey spent Tuesday morning on the mound in a minor-league game, but his most important pitch came a few hours later, when the Mets' projected No. 2 starter talked about raising awareness for the sexual abuse he details in his upcoming book, "Wherever I Wind Up."

Dickey recounts the shame he felt as an 8-year-old after being molested by a 13-year-old female baby-sitter, while his mother and her friends could be heard downstairs in the same house.

"The baby-sitter has her way with me four or five more times that summer, and into the fall, and each time feels more wicked than the time before. Every time that I know I'm going back over there, the sweat starts to come back. I sit in the front seat of the car, next to my mother, anxiety surging. I never tell her why I am so afraid. I never tell anyone until I am 31 years old.

"I just keep my terrible secret, keep it all inside, the details of what went on, and the hurt of a little boy who is scared and ashamed and believes he has done something terribly wrong, but doesn't know what that is."

When asked about the painful incident, and why he chose to reveal it publicly so many years later, Dickey explained the decision before Tuesday's game against the Braves at Digital Domain Stadium.

"I think a lot of times sexual abuse -- it's almost like the bullying stuff," Dickey said. "Unless you talk about it, unless it gets out there, unless you know that there are people that care about you regardless of what has happened to you, unless you know that, it's hard to get to the place where you feel comfortable not only talking about it, but talking about what it's made you into.

"One of the hopes I had for the book is that people will be able to draw something from it that might help them. Whether it's to talk about it more, not to be afraid to be open with what's happened, there are people available that will love you no matter what."

Dickey also mentioned another episode from that same summer when he was molested by a 17-year-old boy. In the wake of the recent Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal at Penn State and another one involving former Syracuse assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine, Dickey believes the timing of his own revelation could help those affected.

"I hope sexual abuse is never looked at in the same way as far as something that's taboo to talk about or something that's tough to openly discuss," Dickey said. "We all have our issues, we all had our adversities in our lives, and that was one in particular for me that I feel like if I could have handled differently early on, things might have ended up differently. And that's part of the story."

Dickey climbed Mount Kilimanjaro this winter to raise money for the Bombay Teen Challenge, an organization that works to combat the trafficking of young girls sold into prostitution. With the book's revelations, his personal connection to that particular charity became clearer.

"You're always drawn to things that are personal to you," Dickey said. "Not only do I have two daughters myself, but I've been through some things that can help me to empathize with not necessarily the intensity of someone who's been human trafficked into a brothel, but I certainly know the feelings that come with being taken advantage of in that way."

Dickey also talks in the book about finding a syringe in the Rangers' bathroom during the 2001 season.

"It may have been used for the most benign of purposes, but the mere sight of it makes me feel as though I am looking straight at Evil -- like seeing a weapon somebody left behind at a crime scene."

Asked about that, Dickey said: "I wouldn't know where to begin on that team."

As for the Mets, they're pretty much spared any controversy in the book. And Dickey is not worried about how his teammates might view him after reading some of his more personal anecdotes.

"I think it's nothing I'm going to force on anybody," Dickey said. "I think I feel much more comfortable, and feel like it's the right thing to do is just if people have questions about the story, then I'm certainly available to discuss those things."

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