Real Life

REAL LIFE: My dad forced me to sleep with my step-mum

He was supposed to protect me and i'll never forgive him.

Daniel Dowling, 36, shares his true story;

I walked passed a table at the car boot sale and something caught my eye.
It was a handbag. I leaned in to take a closer look.
Just then an old lady reached for it. I didn't want her to have it so I snatched it from her grasp.
"Excuse me!" she cried indignantly. "I was going to buy that."
"I want it," I said rudely.
Our neighbour, Janet*, was at the car boot sale too. She saw what I was doing and shook her head at me.
I blushed and let go of the bag.
Later, I saw her walking up to my dad, Richard.
"Your Dan's going to bat for the other side," she said to him, nodding towards me.
I pretended I couldn't hear them. Dad's face went bright red.
"No son of mine will be gay," he spat through gritted teeth.
I was only 11 and didn't know that I was showing any feminine traits, or that they could be thought of as "wrong."
A few days later, I was playing in Dad's lounge room with him and my stepmum, Annette.
She was a carer and they'd met through a lonely hearts ad after Dad split up with my mum.
We were playing the board game Frustration.
"Let's try something different," Dad said suddenly. "Whenever someone loses they have to take off an item of clothing."
Me as a boy.
"Ooh, good idea," Annette squealed.
By the end of the game she was completely naked.
"Now you need to touch her boobs," Dad said to me.
I didn't want to but he told me it was fine so I tentatively put my hand out and did as he said.
"That's it, now give them a little kiss," he encouraged.
Afterwards, they sent me to my room. They seemed pleased with what I'd done so I thought it was okay.
A couple of days later, Dad came to pick me up from Scouts and drove me home.
"Annette's upstairs," he said as we walked in. "Go and give her a goodnight kiss."
I went into their room and saw Annette handcuffed to the bed completely naked.
"Don't be scared, come and give me a kiss," she said.
I did as she asked and went to leave.
"Now I need you to touch me," she said.
My dad, Richard Dowling.
She asked me to remove one of her handcuffs to release one of her hands.
While it was happening Dad walked in.
He took his clothes off and came and joined us on the bed.
I was summoned in to have sex with Annette regularly after that.
Sometimes Dad joined in, or he just watched.
Once, he made me sit in front of the TV.
"There's something I want you to watch," he said, playing a DVD.
It was a porn video. After he made me watch it, he took me to their bedroom and had oral sex with Annette.
When he'd finished he turned to look at me.
"That's how you do it," he said.
Me in my scout uniform.
Another time, I was in my bedroom when Dad called me into their room.
He and Annette were naked and doing a sex act.
I was told to join in and she had sex with me.
We'd watch porn in bed together and then we'd have threesomes.
She told me what to do. Sometimes when Dad wasn't there she'd call me in instead.
I was an only child and just wanted to spend time playing Lego.
Then all of a sudden, Dad and Annette broke up. I was so relieved.
We moved to another town but I was targeted by another paedophile.
Police raided his home and found naked pictures of me.
By now I was 16.
I was interviewed by a child psychologist and revealed the years of abuse I'd suffered growing up. But Dad denied it.
"Daniel's an attention-seeking liar," he told police.
I don't think they even questioned Annette. No arrests were made.
They didn't take me seriously at all.
As I was giving my video statement, one constable even mocked me.
The whole experience left me scarred for life.
Annette Breakspear.
I moved out of home and tried to move on but I couldn't.
I'd been sexualised at such a young age that intercourse meant nothing to me.
Despite Dad's best efforts, I was gay but I struggled to form relationships.
At one point, I tried to end my own life.
Years went by and then one day, I decided enough was enough.
I wanted everyone to pay for what they'd done to me.
So I called Dad.
"Why did you do it?" I asked.
"What?" he said.
"You know… with Annette. Have sex with me," I said, gulping.
"I just wanted to steer you in the right direction," he said. "You know… not be gay."
I recorded the conversation and took it to the police.
The abuse had happened 17 years earlier, but this time they took me seriously.
And when Dad was arrested, he no longer denied it.
He admitted to police that he and Annette carried out "sordid and deplorable" abuse and that he felt ashamed and disgusted.
Daniel Dowling (pictured) took the recording to the police and had his dad arrested for his actions.
In court later, he claimed it was to prevent me from "turning gay".
"I wanted to protect him from paedophiles so he would know what was right and wrong," he told the court.
He said he wanted to educate me about how I should treat women.
He blamed his actions on depression and said he fell under Annette's influence.
"What total nonsense," I spat.
Annette Breakspear was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault while my dad, Richard Dowling, admitted one count of cruelty to a child and two counts relating to sexual offences involving a child.
The judge told Dad: "The damage is incalculable. The abuse of trust is monstrous."
Dad was jailed for five years and Annette got eight.
When I smell someone wearing her perfume, or see that board game, it brings the memories back.
It was Dad and Annette's job to protect me.
They stole my innocence and ruined my childhood.
I can never get past that.
If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au.

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