BOISE — Robby Kautz wrote her book, The Riven Tree, as a way to understand her childhood trauma and help others get through their own.
"I was five years old playing hide and seek, and I saw my father hit my mother for the first time," shared Robby.
The violence and fear in her childhood home created lasting trauma. As she grew up, she led women trauma victims on silent retreats.
"I would meet people that would be in trauma, and I would think if I had written this book, then I could just share that with them," said Kautz.
Eventually, she put her experience into words. The vision came to her in the form of an oak tree, which became her main character. It was growing tall, then struck by lightning, and eventually learned to accept its imperfection.
"As the days became weeks, and weeks became months, and months became years, the lightening, that split oak's heart caused her branches to grow differently," read Robby from an excerpt in her book.
Robby hopes her book can also be helpful for those feeling more isolated in a domestic violence situation due to the extended time at home from quarantine.
"When I was there in the midst of it, I couldn't feel there was any support, and anyone cared about me, but there are people that care," said Robby.
Above all, Robby says she's always relied on her faith. She says her faith helped guide her through the tough times and the growth.
"It gave me a great deal of peace to know there was a purpose in it," said Kautz. "Everyone is going to experience some kind of trauma; if its domestic violence, that's another whole animal."
Robby's parents eventually divorced. The chapter of her life dictated by childhood trauma will always be influential, but she says like the oak, she's learning to grow.
"When I was a child, I couldn't see life past living in my home," said Kautz. "It became pretty depressive, and I considered ending my life because I thought if this is all there is, all I could see in the future was violence and uncertainty and scariness,"
"Then my message is, it isn't forever, you will grow out of it," said Kautz.