Real Life

Real life: “But I’m your dad”

“Why doesn’t Mum care?”

By Take 5 team

Bek, 18, and Sam, 22, bravely share their story...

Bek: “But I’m your dad”

As soon as Lee married mum, it was like he owned us.
"I'd like you to call me Dad," he told me.
I've already got a dad, I thought. I didn't feel comfortable.
He insisted on father-daughter dates at Macca's too.
"You know you can talk to me about anything," he said once. It felt creepy.
When Sam turned 16, she and mum went on a Sydney shopping trip overnight. I was 12. Lee took me to the circus.
"You can have anything you want," he said.
Back home, he came into my bedroom, lay beside me and put his hand on my chest.
He started patting and stroking my breasts. He didn't say a word. I knew what he was doing was wrong, but I was frozen with fear, too scared to move.
I pretended I was asleep and didn't tell mum because I didn't want to break up our family.
It happened three more times after that. The fourth time I snapped, "Get out!"
He sighed, got up and left.
We'd been doing sex education at school so I knew he was abusing me.
Eventually, I confided in Sam and she went wild.
"Are you kidding me!" she raged and sent him a threatening text. I was too scared of him to say anything when Mum sat us all down.
A few years later, when Sam told me he'd abused her too I knew I had to tell mum.
Since then, I've been speaking out to help other victims.
"If I don't stand for something I stand for nothing," I said to mum.
It's hard to talk about what happened, but it's even harder to bottle it all up inside.
"It happened three more times after that. The fourth time I snapped, 'Get out!'"

Sam: “Why doesn’t Mum care?”

When Lee married Mum, suddenly, he had expectations.
"You girls need to help more around the house," he said.
I was 12 and gave him attitude in return. He didn't like it.
"You're my wedded daughter," he said, like I was his property.
The first night he abused me was as we all sat watching Kung Fu Panda. When nobody was looking, he reached across and groped me.
I froze, then fled to my room, but he followed.
"I'm sorry about what happened, but I've spoken to your mum about it. She knows. I love you both very much," he said.
Mum didn't say a word when I went back out.
It didn't occur to me he had lied. I assumed Mum just didn't care.
Over the next two-and-half years, he abused me repeatedly, late at night or early morning, before he drove kids to school.
The groping escalated to full sexual assaults. When he finished, he just got up and walked out of the bedroom.
I got terrible tension headaches and argued with him constantly. I even threw my dinner over him once.
His abuse left me feeling dirty so I spent ages in the shower, trying to wash him off me.
When I found out he'd abused Bek too I was so angry, but still didn't feel ready to open up to Mum. It was only after I'd met some abuse victims during a trip to the US that I got the courage to tell Bek.
I'm glad she told mum and Lee is where he belongs now.
He dug his own grave.
I want victims to know they're not alone and speaking out helps.
When I told mum I finally felt cleansed of everything Lee had done to me.
If you, or someone you know, would like to have a free, confidential chat with someone they can trust, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website www.lifeline.org.au.
If you or anyone you know is affected by the post please contact Reach Out Australia.

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