True Fear – True Theatre

our first speaker tonight is Jen Osborn Osborn’s she’s a transplant from
Southern-Eastern Kentucky she’s a writer she’s a musician and she’s an aspiring actress and she’s
also daughter and that’s the story we’re
gonna hear tonight so if you’ll join me in welcoming Jen onto stage Like so many that come out abuse backgrounds, fear so ruled
my life that nothing about it seemed unusual. I was raised by schizophrenic father used
to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and he was so out of
touch with reality and life there by the end of
my sophomore year he was charged with nine counts of rape and sexual abuse. And my mother had left me with this me with this man at 14 months have age — she just completely
walked away from all over children. And I kind of look at my life in the context of an country saying that
talks about how to boil a frog. And what it says is if you want a boil a frog your you’re
not gonna put the frog in a pot of boiling water, he’s just gonna
jump out. No, what you do is you put the frog in tepid water and you slowly increase the heat and by the time the frog realizes what
is going on he’s cooked. I could have been that frog except for the grace of God in choices that a few people made in my
life I got out. I lost track how many times my dad had
been arrested when I was little. Mainly, from him getting liquored up or
feeling like someone had offended him in some way and he would take out his gun and shoot them off and us kids we were always
right there in the middle of it and it’s a miracle that we never ever got shot. Well, my
stepmother’s family lived on the hill right across from our small farm and when she would get really really fed up with my dad she would retreat to the safety of that
house. And of course my dad would always follow Angry and demanding that she come back
you know, screaming. Well when I was a about six one of those
episodes happened and so he loads us kids into the van up the hill
we go any he had a couple has guns with him and
he stood in front of the house shooting of the guns demanding that she come out
and as kids that were in the van we were
just mortified…scared. We didn’t know what was gonna to happen. I mean here he was shooting of guns in
screaming at our step mom and it was just it was very frightening. Well they call the police and when the police got there is kids were so afraid of what was gonna happen that we covered up his guns in the van and after
they arrested him they searched the van and realized that the guns were there any
he got an additional charges of concealed weapons. Well, another time my dad was missing for like I don’t know — three hours and he ended up being in the hayloft of our barn,
totally stoned out of his mind and he came back to the house, and my step mom realizing that, you know, he’s having an episode she calls for an ambulance and she actually had to try to hold him down and my ten year old sister had a help hold my dad down I remember I
was standing back and just watching this and my Dad was saying “the aliens are coming we gotta go” and he just kept talking about that and talking about that and as I’m watching this I’m thinking they are going to take my dad always is, is he
gonna come back? And you know what about the aliens? Are the aliens coming? I didn’t know.
Well he could take – even sober – a really beautiful moment and he could just grind it to hell. One time he had decided he was going to breed German shepherds.
So he bought this beautiful female, Smoky, and us kids adored her. And then he bred her and when she was ready to deliver her puppies we were so excited, us kids we just gathered around her and we just watched in awe as smoky lovingly gave birth to her puppies and it was such wonder…. until my dad stepped in. One by one he removed the females from the males.
And he put the females in a bag And he walk behind the barn and he buried them alive. We just wailed! We were crying and we were begging him to go back and dig up back up the puppies. Well he he wasn’t going to so all night we
we cry no matter how much he beat us we just kept begging “please dad, go dig up
the puppies”. So finally by the morning he relented
and he went back out and dug back up the
puppies. Some lived but, some died. It was that kind of situation of terror and moments of fear that
that constantly kept me on edge. But, it never occurred to me that it
wasn’t normal. I mean didn’t every kid woken up in the
middle the night from their dad talking about how angel had given him a message or you
know the aliens are coming or hey I found the secret meeting in the Bible
mean everybody did go through that? Well and go on to explain to you about
how my step mom left leaving the remaining kids with my dad
and how the abuse escalated and I can’t even explain to you how we lived for a time in a house with
no furniture. But, just know that the abuse just
escalated. It got phenomenally worse. Well one of my escapes when I was 13 is I would — I’d go roller skating and my dad didn’t care what I did he didn’t
care where I was or who I was worth so I would find my way at 13 to the roller
rink and I’d find my way back and I would
bum the money to actually get in. I did this every weekend – every
Friday and Saturday night. And, you know at midnight
on a Friday and Saturday night being a 13-year-old it was kinda sketchy getting
my my rides home. One particular time a
friend of mine said “oh yeah sure my mom will take you home” so I jump in the car and I was so happy to have a ride home but I
was really unprepared for what I’d seen. The mother was talking to her daughter and asking her “so how was your night?” and she would
listen she seemed really care about her
daughter in she’d even come out at midnight to pick up her daughter and I was so mesmurized by the normal way it was and that the mother actually loved her daughter. And I remember thinking “God, my life is so stark in its differences. It’s completely different and you have
everything I want that’s normal.” Well we ended up going to the long road down
to my house and I happen to see my dad’s van on the side
of the road a little bit askew, and I said to the mother, “Oh, wait, wait, that that’s my dad you can let me out it’s okay,” so the mother let’s me out and I run to the van to the passenger side door and as soon as I opened it I knew something
was wrong – I could smell it – I could smell the liquor, I knew something was wrong. Well I watched as the car pulled away and i’m looking at the detail taillights
thinking “there goes normal. There goes everything I want.” And I’m with the monster. This awful monster. So I getting the van and my dad throws me the lid to a liquor bottle he
had with him and he said “there, you’re the devil. We’re gonna die!” And he slammed on the gas pedal he
starts careening towards this tall embankment me to kill us. Well I lifted up on the handle and jump out and
I land in a ditch and I totally gash up my leg and I watch as he’s just careening towards this a
steep embankment and right before he hit he stopped And everything was quiet and I just watched as he eventually made his way back onto
the road he pulled away And I ran the other way. I was not going
back with him. And so I ended up crossing a
four-lane highway to Wendy’s restaurant and I called my
grandmother and I ended up staying with her for two weeks till my dad decided it was time for me to come
home. Well it was situations like that — the the normal that would hit me when I got
in high school. I would I would see parents that we come to
their kids events and they would cheer them on and I thought “wow, they actually came,” or they would speak lovingly to their
children and instead of telling them “oh you’re stupid”, or you know they would hug them instead of punching them in the mouth. Cause my dad had always led me to
believe all fathers abused their daughters. All mothers were drunks and I was starting
to see that just wasn’t the case. So I started to
question if that’s not right you know what else
has he told me that isn’t right. so I really started to question
those things Well, when I started getting friends in
high school I would bring them home my dad really started taking an interest in them. He would take an interest in my friends
and my my brother’s girlfriends that he would date. And he kinda of started letting them drink
in the apartment. And then it was, he’d let him have drugs in the apartment or the if the girls and a boy friends
wanted to have sex in the apartment he let him do that. Well, I became known as the girl with “cool dad”. And it was, you know, it was so not the
case. But, you know, thought oh I have all this
freedom, I’ve got this great dad. Well he slowly and methodically started a subduction with each new little freedom he gave them they kinda
gave him a little bit a trust. And it wasn’t a race, it was it was
methodical creep to where he got to the eventual finish line of rape. Well one time a popular girl came to the
apartment and it was a cheerleader no less. I mean I
knew her but I didn’t hang with her of course. And you know she came with a
friend of hers and I don’t know if it was morbid curiosity
or what it was you know a lot of people knew about, a lot of kids knew about what was
going on in that apartment but she came with this friend and they sat
with my dad drinking and and he thought “okay I’m going to call a friend of mine,” so he calls a friend of his over in in when they thought it was
the right time they decide they were going to have fun with the girls. Well they completely freaked out, they’d he had
no idea that this was going on. So I take them and I run into the bedroom
and shut the door and I remember my dad was banging so
hard on the door that he was just literally moving the
whole top of it was moving he was pounded so hard he wanted them to come out. And they were terrified. Terrified. The
looks on their faces that they had when they looked at me — they’re looking to me
for protection. And I was, you know, fourteen-years-old. What could I do? And I…it was that moment that my shell of protection just kinda
started to shattered just a little bit and I remember sitting there telling
them “oh I’m so sick of my life, I’m so tired in my life I living here is a miserable and I just
want to kill myself.” I couldn’t believe I was telling them this, sitting there in that dark bedroom them terrified and me just ready to die, but I did. It was after a time when I
didn’t hear anymore noise or movement we figured they had passed out so snuck them out. Well not long after that as I was in high school I got called out of class.
And I was taken to an office next to the principal’s office and I met
this really nice lady. She was a social worker. I would learn later that their
cheerleader’s mother had called social services And this lady was she was small and petite. And she was just so motherly and
she spoke to me so gently in that it just really disarmed me and I
was already feeling just you know sick of life and sick of everything that was going on so which she asked me questions I can answer honestly. Which, at that point, only consisted of “does your dad allow them to you party in the apartment?”
to which I said “yeah.” Later that night I tossed and I turned, I thought “oh my God! I betrayed my dad! I betrayed my dad!” So
the next day I call when I say “look if you tell
anyone what I said going deny all, deny it all”. And she just very knowingly said “Okay Jen, okay,” and I thought Woo, I have dodged a bullet. Well that, you know, ended up not been the case. Well my dad had gotten wind not long
after that that he was being investigated so he
sends me and my brother to the the back parking lot with this box full of
pictures and he said “you need to burn all of these” I had no idea exactly what we were doing
but as we’re burning these pictures my insides were
coming out because I was looking at the eyes and the bodies of all these girls
then I knew and we just burned all of this evidence. And it just made me sick. Well one day when I came home from high
school there are police cruisers all over the front of
the apartment building in which we live in and, you know, I kinda knew what was going on
and I made my way up the stairs and I was greeted by a police officer he said “who are you?” and I said “well, I live in bed apartment that you’re in,”
and he let me come close and you know the
police are tearing through everything. They’re going through every
drawer every every little thing I mean just
ransacking the whole apartment and there sat my dad in handcuffs. And he said “can I speak to her” and they said “yes” so
he comes out in handcuffs and like he kept saying “you know I didn’t
do this. You know I’m innocent. They’re just… they’re just out to get me. I didn’t do anything, you know that.” and my insides just roared with this emotion it was even words
I just couldn’t believe he was to me that cause I knew he was guilty. And I watched as they put my dad in a
cruiser and they pulled away. And I had such a mixed
emotion. There was part of me that was like, “Wow, wow I’m so relieved. I don’t have to live with
that monster anymore” and then there was the other side me it was like, “Oh my God, I’m on my own! What do I do?” So why am I telling my story? Why am I
standing up your sharing this with you? Well I don’t want pity. You know what? I want you to know is I
survived and I made it out because people chose
not to look away, and actually got involved and so if your in an abusive situation I would just
like to say to you there’s hope you can you can get out there’s a way out of the
darkness that threatens to swallow you whole. And if you’re someone that may happen to
see a young person in need, I would hoping encourage you to you step out of
your comfort zone and point them to a way out of the
darkness thank you

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