It’s one thing to successfully get out of an abusive relationship and yet another thing to rebuild after you’ve escaped. In fan Laurie Osterman’s case, she’s managed to accomplish one and is currently working on the other, and her future has never looked brighter.
Abuse is an insidious cycle that often initially poses as an isolated incident. The abuser might apologize, swear that he or she was upset, that they knew it was wrong and that it will never happen again. After having already fallen in love with the abuser, the victim will usually err on the side of forgiveness. One of the most unfortunate things about abuse is that it often happens to the helpless, the dependent, and the disarmed. Victims are conned into love and then pay the price for their belief in what turned out to be an illusion.
Sometimes, either through circumstance, a support group or sheer willpower, a victim can break free from abuse and develop the agency of a survivor. Fan Laurie Hasterman is one of those fortunate individuals. It would turn out that her favorite rapper would be the one that was able to lift her spirit after it had been crushed for so many years.
Laurie had met her would-be husband at the tender age of 14. Still young and naive, she was ill-equipped to handle the predatory nature which would ensnare her in a relationship that would go on for decades. “I was fooled all the way,” she recalls.
What started as a relationship of codependency grew worse and worse over the ensuing years. “The abuse was so extreme that it had come to a point where I wasn’t myself. I was lost. I couldn’t think for myself,” Laurie says, echoing a common malaise that overtakes victims of abuse. When drugs entered the picture, it inevitably made things worse. “Drugs was a big part of it. I was experimenting myself. Nothing major but I was drugged myself. It just made it a bad situation.”
Years passed and children eventually entered the picture, further complicating an already tumultuous situation. It would be a situation that involved one of the kids that finally pushed Laurie to say “Enough.”
“We had been married for 15, 20 years and he shared a story with me about an abuse situation on our son, and that’s when it started clicking in my head that I needed to find a way to get out. I’m getting older. I need a home. I needed somewhere to go. My kids were troubled by him from the abuse and so I just started preparing myself that if it gets bad and this stuff doesn’t stop I have to be settled. I have to have a home to live in.
“The final point was when he basically kidnapped me and brought me in the middle of nowhere and threatened to kill me and then did it again. He started threatening my life. Throughout our history it was all ‘I was raised this way. I don’t know how to control it. Maybe we should go to counseling,’ or whatever, but he changed. He said ‘Yes I am able to and will kill you.’ That’s when I decided that I needed to get out because he’s got no remorse anymore.”
In the midst of her turbulent situation, she came upon the one emcee with the music to help her through hard times: Tech N9ne. Laurie recalls how she came upon Tech’s music during a terrible stretch:
“My son and I had things in common. We’d listen to music and did stuff together. We’d talk to each other about our problems. One night I was at his house. I had been a strong, faithful person, but the abuse was coming to the point where I was questioning God. The abuser was using the Bible to abuse me and make me feel condemned. I went to my son’s house one night after going through a bunch of BS with him. My son told me ‘Mom, listen to this song,’ and he put on ‘Hope For A Higher Power’. Ever since then I was hooked.
“K.O.D., I love that album. Sometimes when I was booted out of the house I would sit at the lake in my car and just listen to music all night long – K.O.D. especially. It seemed to describe some of the actions my ex did to me.”
Laurie explains how a brooding album how K.O.D. helps during the dark hours
“Abuse can be a spiraling vortex type of thing and how can you just listen to a happy song to get out of it? At some point I just can’t be happy. If a happy memory comes along, tears will flow. You feel like an oddball. If you have something you can connect with then you can know that you’re not the only one. You’re not an oddball. You don’t need to hide. You’re not the only one suffering this kind of thing so let it out. I’d sing along with it and let it out.
There are evil situations in the world and if you get tied into it you feel like an outcast, so if you have something to connect with that helps.”
During the abuse, Laurie had a meeting with one of her favorite rappers that would prove to be a desperately needed boost to her soul.
“I’ve met Tech N9ne several times. I go to any VIP possible. I’ll tell you about that night. My oldest son didn’t know it but, well he had gone to a Tech N9ne concert in Bismarck and gave Tech his phone so I got to talk to him on the phone. Then I wanted to go to one of his concerts. He was playing in Billings. I was still with my husband and I didn’t want to tell him. Other concerts that I’ve gone to, he’d let me go but when I came home I’d gotten in trouble, so I just kept it from him.
“I had my youngest son living with me and about three days before the concert the ex went psycho and I got beat terribly. My son and I fought him off and he was arrested and put in jail. Three days later we go to a Tech N9ne concert and I didn’t tell my oldest my oldest son because he has been my protector and I didn’t want him to know because I didn’t want to ruin the concert. I was bruised from head to toe. I went to shake Tech’s hand because I didn’t want to get hurt and he grabbed me and hugged me. It felt great. It made me feel like I existed again.”
Laurie is now living in Eastern Montana, being a mother and grandmother to her two sons and their children. She’s also focusing her efforts on photography, promotions and music, wanting to bring hip hop and music to Montana, where only few acts come to visit (including Strange Music).
When asked if she had any words for women who think they might be in an abusive relationship, Laurie had this to say:
“I got an opinion from my ex’s daughter-in-law, and unless there’s a miracle or something, once you’re an abuser you’re always an abuser. I thought that was a little judgmental from her but I’m beginning to believe that. One small thing, unless you’ve fixed it from the beginning and it never happens again, fine, but I just don’t believe that. I believe one time and that’s it, you’re done. I would never put up with it again.”
When asked if there was anything she’d like to say to Tech N9ne, Laurie had this to say:
“Well starting off I’d tell him sorry for being such a nervous fool whenever I meet with him (laughs). But they mean a lot to me. Thank you. Thank you for being close to his fans. Thank you for putting out beautiful music. The impression that I have is that he’s suffered pain also and fights every day to make the day better for him and his loved ones. That’s my same philosophy. What’s more important than your families and taking care of them and yourself and trying to make better for yourself every day? I lived with so much depression and I tried to fight it all along: ‘Why are you depressed? Why are you depressed?’ Like me, Tech N9ne, I’m under the impression that he fights that. He says that in his lyrics. He knows he has angels and demons inside of him but he’s fighting those demons every day. I appreciate that he shares the same philosophy.
“I just hope that Strange Music keeps putting out good music and helping people. Don’t stop!”
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