Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dickeypedia Words of The Week: Sexual Abuse

As regular readers of Studious Metsimus would know, we have occasionally counted on R.A. Dickey to give us words of wisdom for the Dickeypedia Word of The Week piece.  The Mets' knuckler even gave us his blessing and promised to provide us with more fodder for future pieces.

The Dickeypedia Word of The Week is usually a humorous piece.  But there is nothing funny about today's word (or words, in this case).

In his new book, "Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest For Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball" (written with Wayne Coffey), Dickey talks openly about many topics, including his painful memories of being sexually abused as a child.  Although it was difficult to share such intimate details of his life, Dickey did so for those who are unwilling, embarrassed or afraid to discuss similar experiences, to let them know that what happened to them was not their fault.  Dickey goes on to say,

Photo by Simon Bruty/SI

"I hope sexual abuse is never looked at in the same way, as far as something that is taboo to talk about, or something that is tough to discuss."

Sexual abuse is not something that should ever be taken lightly.  In fact, the definition pretty much says it all:

sexual abuse:

  • 1. the forcing of unwanted sexual activity by one person on another, as by the use of threats or coercion.
  • 2. sexual activity that is deemed improper or harmful, as between an adult and a minor or with a person of diminished mental capacity.

Many times, especially in the case of children, sexual abuse is never reported.  The child keeps the details of the violation to himself/herself and it ends up having a devastating effect on his/her development and interaction with others.

R.A. Dickey was abused at age 8.  The experience caused him to feel "ashamed and alone", and he even felt that "there was something terribly wrong" with him.  But after a quarter century of keeping it all in, he finally found the courage to tell his wife, Anne.  Since he revealed the news to his wife, their relationship has gotten stronger and now, with his book, he hopes that fellow victims will have the courage to share their stories in the hopes that they will be able to strengthen their personal and interpersonal relationships.  Dickey explains,

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty

"I have spent so much of my life running and hiding, and I wasn't going to do that in the book.  What would be the point in doing that - perpetuating untruth.  It was important to me to tell the truth, to be completely authentic.  Sharing the pain I went through is part of the healing for me, a catharsis in many ways."

R.A. Dickey is expected to be one of the top pitchers in the Mets' starting rotation.  Because of this, his teammates will look up to him to help lead them to victory.  But after sharing the story about his abuse as a child, many other people will now look up to him, and hopefully for these people, they will be victorious in the struggle to cope with their similar life experiences.

Athletes are viewed upon as role models for children, but sometimes children mistakenly refer to their favorite athletes as their heroes.  The dictionary definition of a hero is a person who is admired for courage or noble qualities.  Make no mistake about it.  R.A. Dickey is a true hero.  And hopefully, his words will help others and encourage them to do the same.

"Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest For Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball" by R.A. Dickey (with Wayne Coffey) will be available for sale on March 29, 2012.  Do yourselves a favor and pick it up.  It's essential reading.

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