When Silence is not Golden

As a child, I thought my parents coined the proverbial expression, “Silence is golden.” Among healthy adults, the expression is often a social teaching aid to promote healthy communication. Appropriate silence is a cooperative communication practice that allows another person to speak without interruption. This bedrock of healthy intimate relationships enables people freely to exchange experiences, observations, information, beliefs, and emotions.

Comparatively, the deviant promotes silence to conceal his identity, prior violent acts, and intention to injure others. In addition, silence isolates the deviant’s casualties. Collectively, this transforms silence to a toxin. As a toxin, silence is the bedrock of dysfunctional relationships and healthcare risks that plague adults exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) (1). The ACE study also showed breaking the silence to reveal ACE incidents and still feeling accepted by another human being significantly reduced return visits to a healthcare provider.

Is there a relationship between silence and intrusive thoughts?
 The Sexual Trauma Inventory and Silentinjuries™ Questionnaire (2) (3) demonstrated social-sexual deviance is a measurable toxin and exposure to the toxin yields predictable injuries. The predictable or core injuries are subject to mitigating and aggravating factors. It is critical to define four words before continuing this conversation. The terms are static variable, dynamic variable, silence and intrusive thoughts.

A static variable is something that is unchanging or constant. For instance, in today’s worldwide society, exposure to social-sexual deviance takes place daily. And, once an exposure occurs, the exposure event is a fixed or static variable.

A dynamic variable is changeable or fluid. Silence, for the purposes of this conversation, means the inability to tell anybody about one’s exposure to social-sexual deviance and subsequent disruptions to one’s adjustment. Whether a person uses silence to manage exposure to social-sexual deviance exposure is a dynamic or changeable variable.

Intrusive Thoughts means unwanted social-sexual deviance exposure related memories that are disruptive to one’s daily social/sexual adjustment.  Intrusive thoughts are dynamic or changeable.

Silently harboring one’s exposure to social-sexual deviance as a child, adolescent, adult or professional increases one’s vulnerability to intrusive thoughts. Auditory, olfactory, visual and tactile cues can trigger the intrusive thoughts and associated emotions.


As healthy adults, what could we do as individuals to challenge societal silence on social-sexual deviance?
Below, three steps are outlined to enhance our roles as healthy adult and stewards to children:

  1. Acknowledge societal silence and mythology about social-sexual deviance enables deviance to proliferate and increases child health threats.
  2. Confront the issue by talking with your family and friends about social-sexual deviance. Consider the challenges you experience talking to others about child maltreatment.
  3. Treat societal immaturity by using appropriate language to talk about violence, deviance and human anatomy. Assure your child can receive formal sex education. Assure your community CSA professionals receive training prior to their first case assignment.

Child molestation is a violent act that a social-sexual deviant commits. A serial child molester is not a wolf or any other apex predator. Characterizing a serial child molester as a “lone wolf” is a media disservice. An apex predator is a vital ecosystem member. The serial child molester does not contribute to our ecosystem in an equivalent manner.

Uneducated or misinformed children are more vulnerable to exploitation than children properly educated about human anatomy and healthy adult-child relationships. All human body parts have an anatomical name. Would you ever consider teaching a child to use the word “publics” to speak about fingers? Of course not! As healthy mature adults, let us strive to replace the word “privates” with anatomically correct words.

Far too many CSA professionals receive their first case assignment without specialized training (3). Despite the accumulating evidence that this practice accelerates burnout and compromises professional competency (4), the practice appears constant over the last twenty years. As healthy adults, let us protect this social resource and assure specialized training precedes first case assignment.

Clearly these three communication changes will not eliminate social-sexual deviance. However, the actions can help identify a social-sexual deviant, reduce the role silence plays in aggravating traumatic injuries, and protect those who protect our children.

“A danger forseen is half-avoided.” Cheyenne (5)



1. Felitti, V. J., & Anda, R. F. The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Medical Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, and Sexual Behavior: Implications for Healthcare. [ed.] R. Lanius & E. Vermetten. The Hidden Epidemic: The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease. s.l. : Cambridge University Press, 2009.
2. Emerick, R. L. Preliminary Findings of the Sexual Trauma Inventory. Portland, Oregon : s.n., 1992. 11th Annual Conference on the Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Abusers.
3. Emerick, R. L. Silent Injuries Part I. Crime Victims Report. 1302, May/June 2009.
4. Maslach C, & Leiter M. The truth about burnout: how organizations cause personal stress and what to do about it. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, 1998.
5. Zona, G. A. The Soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears – and other Native American proverbs. New York : Touchstone, 1994.

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Exposure to Social-Sexual Deviance is a daily health risk

Daily, all people experience exposure to social-sexual deviance. The exposures to deviance take place along a continuum that ranges from second-hand exposure to direct exposure. Hearing a newscast or reading an article that includes information about social-sexual deviance are just two examples of countless secondhand exposure possibilities. Face-to-face contact with a social-sexual deviant or a casualty set the minimal parameters to direct exposure. Each exposure leaves a traumatic injury sedimentary deposit that can intensify from another exposure or fade over time and erosion. Silence is the coping response that acts to most strongly bind one traumatic injury to another. Honest communication about one’s exposure to social-sexual deviance is the strongest erosive force.

But talking about the exposure causes me to feel shame and embarrassment.
What causes a person to feel embarrassment and shame following exposure to social-sexual deviance? There are two prongs to this answer. One prong directly relates to society. The second prong directly relates to the social-sexual deviant.

As a society, we use denial and mythology (1) to describe the social-sexual deviant and to create artificial boundaries (2) . Subsequently, societal immaturity places an enormous burden on the social-sexual deviant’s casualties. That burden is simultaneously to confront the social mass and the deviant. Simply stated, this means a child’s maltreatment disclosure is a request to the adult population to shoulder their child stewardship responsibility, model healthy conversation about social-sexual deviance and manage the deviant’s risk to hurt others.

Causing casualties to misinterpret their violent experience is an a priori objective to the social-sexual deviant. A linear or straight line relationship exists between one’s complexity as a social-sexual deviant and the intensity of a casualty’s shame and embarrassment. Simplifying this statement, this means the more shame and embarrassment a person feels after exposure to deviance, the more complex the deviant.

Knowledge that is not used is abused. (3)

What are five knowledge points all healthy adults need to know about social-sexual deviance to honor their stewardship role to children?

  1. Denial and mythology interfere with most adults openly acknowledging and confronting social-sexual deviance as it manifests within the child molester. Our social inability to openly acknowledge and talk about child molesting promotes embarrassment, shame and silence in children whose childhood experiences include exposure to a social-sexual deviant.
  2. Dishonesty is central to the social-sexual deviant evading social detection. This trait makes it impossible for researchers to know the exact number of post pubescent males and females who molest children. Researchers estimate 1 in twenty post pubescent males molest children. The estimated incidence rate among females is significantly less. (4)
  3. A desire to sexually use a child’s body is the motivating force behind child molesting behavior. (4)
  4. A child’s exposure to social-sexual deviance involves a family member, the family friend or family acquaintance much more frequently than a stranger (4) (5)
  5. Silence is the most frequently used coping response among children, adolescents and adults after their exposure to social-sexual deviance. (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)

1. Summit, R. 1983, The Child Sexual Abuse Accomodation Syndrome. Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 7, pp. 177 – 193.
2. Emerick, R. L. Silent Injuries Part I. Crime Victims Report. 1302, May/June 2009.
3. Zona, G. A. The Soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears – and other Native American proverbs. New York : Touchstone, 1994.
4. Abel, G. G., & Harlow, N. The Stop Child Molestation Book. 2002.
5. Berliner, L., & Conte, J. R. 1990, The Process of Victimization: The Victim’s Perspective. Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 14, pp. 29 – 40.
6. Briere, J. Child Abuse Trauma: Theory and Treatment of Lasting Effects. Newbury Park, CA : Sage, 1992.
7. Emerick, R. L. 1992.Preliminary Findings of the Sexual Trauma Inventory. Portland, Oregon : 11th Annual Conference on the Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Abusers.
8. Hindman, J. Just Before Dawn. Baker City, Oregon : Alexandria Associates, 1989.
9. Stein, R. E., & Nofziger, S. D., 2008, Adolescent Sexual Victimization: Choice of Confidant and the Failure of Authorities. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Vol. 6, pp. 158-177.

January 21, 2015 Topic: When Silence is not Golden
Does silently harboring one’s exposure social-sexual deviance increase one’s vulnerability to intrusive memories?

Posted in: Sexual Deviance, Social Deviance

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What is Silentinjuries

What is Silentinjuries.com?

Silentinjuries.com is a clinical practice and research-based repository dedicated to reducing disruptions to healthy childhood, adolescent and adult development due to social-sexual deviance exposure as it manifests within the child molester through research, education, advocacy and good will.

To achieve the Silentinjuries mission, we call upon more than thirty years of professional experience evaluating and treating social-sexual deviants and their casualties. There are four broad content areas to the website contents.

  1. Social-Sexual Deviance as it Manifests within a Child Molester.
  2. Factors that Aggravate Core Traumatic Injuries Subsequent to Child Sexual Abuse.
  3. Factors that Aggravate Core Traumatic Injuries to Child Sexual Abuse Professionals
  4. Acting Now to Sustain Health Following Exposure to Social-Sexual Deviance

Four times per year, Arizona’s Advanced Forensic Interview Training program includes the Silentinjuries seminar “Offender Dynamics and Traumatic Injuries”. Attendees often comment that the seminar set the benchmark to the multiday training.

10th Anniversary

January 2015 marks Silentinjuries.com 10 year anniversary. At first, the website hosted the Silentinjuries™ Questionnaire. Embedding the questionnaire in the website pages enabled Silentinjuries™ seminar attendees to complete the questionnaire anonymously before attending a seminar. To reach a broader audience,  Silentinjuries is expanding to provide the No Longer Silent blog.


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