Home Childhood Sexual Abuse Reflecting on her Safe Place of Refuge.
the safe place of refuge, the strong safe tree - surviving my past

Reflecting on her Safe Place of Refuge.

by Matt Pappas

A short story of reflection from regular guest blogger, survivor, and friend, Dawn.

If you’ve read any of her previous posts here on the blog, you know first hand the struggles that she has faced in her past, and the resiliency that she displays daily in her life now. Her willingness to share so openly and vulnerably has inspired so many, and I’m honored to share the reflective thoughts of an adult who sought refuge in the strong, safe, place that protected her as an abused child.

The Strong and Safe Tree

Once there was a girl.  Now this girl had a horrible, abusive childhood.  Her father was a cruel and hurtful man.  At night, she would listen for his footsteps…

The girl lived right next to a very big woods.  If you walked in the paths of the woods, you would come to a huge field.  This field was amazing.  The grass was high.  The little girl would run into the huge field and right up to the huge maple tree that was in the center of the field.  She was able to climb the tree.

In this tree was an amazing branch.  It was so strong and safe.  She could climb up the tree and sit on this branch.  She could lean against the trunk of the tree.  No one could see her because of the other branches and leaves.  This was her safe, safe tree.  Sometimes she would take a sandwich up in the tree and have lunch there.  Sometimes, after a really bad night, she would climb the tree, lean up against the trunk and cry…….and cry herself to sleep.  It was safe to sleep there in that tree.  The branches would gently hold her and never let her fall.  She loved her tree.

The years went by and the girl moved away.  Her abuser died and her healing started.  Healing is hard work.  Healing takes courage.  Healing is very difficult.  As the girl worked hard at healing, and the healing was very painful, she found herself thinking of her lovely, safe and strong tree.

One day she drove to that woods.  Those woods that were so huge when she was little…did not seem so big.  She walked through the woods to that ….um…. not so huge field.  She walked up to her very huge, strong and safe tree.  Now the girl, being a woman in her 30’s was still able to climb the tree.  She climbed up to her branch.  She leaned up against the trunk.  She felt the branches of the tree around her, and she felt safe once again.

This is a true story.


 -Dawn, @SongWarriors
If you would like to be a guest blogger and share your story, just contact me anytime.
Pictures courtesy of Pixabay. Social Media images created by Matt Pappas

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L Wool February 22, 2017 - 12:14 pm

Nice post! Thank you for sharing. I am wondering if quite a few of us had a special “safe” tree. I had a couple trees that I enjoyed climbing, being up away from the world. One of my favorite was a plum tree, which bared yummy fruit right at our finger tips. What made it even more special is that it was located at my best friend’s house, and I always felt happy and safe there.

Dawn H February 23, 2017 - 8:08 pm

Very interesting. My therapist says that a lot of survivors have a theme of a safe place being that of a tree. Maybe because we don’t think anyone can see or find us up in the tree. I don’t know. Thank you for sharing.

JM Campos February 24, 2017 - 1:52 pm

Yes I had one too! Eventually it got cut down when the lot next door was sold?. Till this day I still get the urge to climb up and hide in a tree but physically I couldn’t pull it off anymore. Thank God I have acquired other coping skills since then.?

Matt February 24, 2017 - 2:02 pm

I too have a tree, from when I was a kid. Although it wasn’t the safe tree quite so much that Dawn had and that you had too JM, it was still comforting to sit in that perfectly shaped branch that was so familiar.

Dawn H February 24, 2017 - 2:08 pm

Trees really are a common theme amongst survivors of CSA it would seem. I am honored that this story was able to give some positive light….and maybe even a safe feeling.

Lori September 11, 2017 - 11:33 pm

What’s funny is I still have days where I wish I could just go hide in a tree, relax and gather my thoughts. 🙂

Dawn Hendrickson September 12, 2017 - 2:33 pm

Me too


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