• Julia Sidwell

'I recorded my RAPIST DAD'S confession'

Stacey Donaldson bravely shared with Tell and Sell Stories how she was raped by her own father. We got her story published in The Sun newspaper and Take a Break magazine to expose his sick crime. Do you have a story you are ready to tell? #raisingawareness #sellyourstory #tellandsellstories

Here Stacey tells all... The sound of a tattoo gun buzzed as I stood in the shop and flicked through pages of designs. ‘Which one do you want?’ my dad said. ‘I like this one,’ I said, and pointed to an image of a dolphin. ‘Go on then,’ he said. ‘My treat.’ I was 15 and had only just met my dad Ian properly for the first time. My parents had separated when I was a baby and I’d grown up with my mum and step-dad. I’d always thought my dad was dead. But when a friend told me she’d seen him in town I’d been curious to meet him, so I went to his house where he lived with his mum. He was so happy to see me. ‘Not seeing you grow up was heart-breaking,’ he’d said. He told me he had a drink problem, but he seemed nice and we’d been meeting up several times a week. After I’d got my tattoo, I checked it in the mirror. ‘I love it, thanks Dad,’ I said. Back home, my mum wasn’t happy I was seeing him. ‘He’s bad news,’ she said. I refused to believe it. He was my dad after all. But weeks later, I realised what he’d meant about his drinking. I could smell it on his breath and he kept making nasty comments. ‘You’re not my daughter,’ he slurred. ‘Don’t say that,’ I said. But as the day went on, he drank more and more until his mood flipped and he was crying, begging for forgiveness. ‘I didn’t mean it,’ he said. ‘Help me, I need to stop drinking.’ Despite going into rehab and getting sober, he soon slipped into his old ways and often when I saw him, he was glugging vodka straight from the bottle... One afternoon, when I was 16, I was at Dad’s watching TV and playing on my phone, while he drank vodka. ‘I think you’ve got ADHD,’ he said, out of nowhere. ‘I don’t think so Dad,’ I said. ‘You do,’ he said. ‘You’re too hyper.’ I frowned, confused by his comment. ‘I’ve got these pills that will help,’ he went on. He got some diazepam and put two tablets in my hand. ‘Take these,’ he said. ‘They’ll calm you down.’ When I hesitated, he said: ‘Trust me Stacey, I’m your father.’ I nodded and swallowed the pills with some water. ‘Good girl,’ he said. He went and made me a cheese roll. ‘Thanks Dad,’ I said, taking a bite. Then I began to feel very tired… Suddenly I woke up on the sofa, with Dad lying on top of me. ‘What are you doing?’ I shouted. He pulled at my clothes as I tried to push him off me, but he was too strong. ‘Stop, please, get off me!’ I screamed. But he ignored my pleas and raped me. Just then, I heard my gran coming downstairs. Finally, I was saved. ‘What’s going on?’ she said. ‘He’s having sex with me,’ I cried. Dad quickly jumped off me as my gran appeared. But instead of helping me, she made a face and said: ‘You must have asked for it Stacey, because he wouldn’t do that for no reason.’ I was absolutely stunned by her response. ‘Stay here and calm down,’ Dad ordered. Then he went upstairs to bed. I was left feeling confused and disgusted. After a while, when I was sure Dad was asleep, I went to the toilet and messaged a friend. Please could you come and pick me up from my dad’s? Soon after, I left the house, trembling from head to toe. In my friend’s car, I told her what had happened. ‘Swear you won’t tell anyone,’ I said. ‘I won’t,’ she promised. That night, I lay in bed crying and feeling sick. Why did Dad do that to me? I thought. And if my own gran didn’t believe he’d had sex with me, then I was sure no one else would either. Next day, Dad kept texting me asking me to go and see him. I ignored his messages. I didn’t want to see Dad ever again, let alone speak to him. Days later, he finally left me alone and I was so relieved. But the sick memories were always there and I started drinking to try and block out what he’d done. When I was 17, Dad started phoning me and turning up at places where he knew I would be. ‘You’re my baba,’ he said. ‘I love you.’ ‘Why did you do it,’ I said. ‘What?’ he replied. ‘It’s all in your head.’ By the time I was 18, I’d finally had enough. I didn’t want to live with my vile secret anymore and I wanted Dad out of my life for good. But how could I get anyone to believe me? Then I had an idea. Later that day, I went round to Dad’s. ‘Hello,’ he said, surprised to see me. ‘Hi Dad,’ I said. Then he smirked and said: ‘I knew you’d be back.’ We went inside and I looked him straight in the eye. ‘Tell me, why did you have sex with me against my will,’ I said. ‘Because I’m a bam and because of the drink,’ Dad replied. My heart was racing. Then I said: ‘Do you need anything from the shop?’ He gave me a £20 note to get some bits for him and I left. Then I popped the money back through the letterbox and walked down the street to meet my friend who was waiting for me. As soon as I got in the car, I pulled the hidden dictaphone from inside my jacket and stopped it recording. Then I played it back, listening to my dad’s confession. ‘Got it,’ I smiled, flooding with relief. Next day, I went to the police station and told them everything. In time, Ian Donaldson, then 51 (now 57), of Tweed Crescent, (now Hospital Street), Dundee, was charged with raping me, as well as another woman almost ten years earlier. He denied the charges. I went along to the High Court in Dundee where the jury were told how my dad had given me diazepam and then raped me while I slept. I broke down as I gave evidence, explaining what he had done to me, and how I had secretly concealed a dictaphone to record my dad’s admission. The court also heard how he raped his first victim in 1997, as she lay asleep after a night drinking. The jury found him guilty of raping us both and he was sentenced to seven years in prison. Prosecutor Andrew Stewart QC said dad had taken ‘two girls filled with happiness and hope’ and ‘turned their dream into a nightmare’. Finally, I had got justice. I was so glad I had taken it into my own hands, to get the proof I needed. But it didn’t mean I could simply forget. I was left with anxiety and depression and it was often a struggle to even get up in the mornings. Years passed and I went to college to study care, before getting a job as a care supervisor for vulnerable adults. I also met my partner. Life was better than it had been in a long time. Then one day, I was in town when I froze. It can’t be, I thought. But sure enough, it was him. Dad. I started shaking and kept walking. Why hadn’t I been told he was out of prison? I pretended I hadn’t seen him, but he came over, put his rucksack on the ground in front of me and sniggered. ‘Do you have anything to say for yourself?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he said, sounding confused. ‘Nothing at all?’ I said. ‘Nope,’ he replied, and then he sauntered off. My legs were like jelly as I walked back to my car and drove back to my home in Dundee, Scotland. I felt sick. I’d been told he wasn’t allowed anywhere near me after he’d served his sentence. Now I have to cope knowing my dad is living less than two miles from me. While he is carrying on with his life, pretending nothing ever happened, I have to live with the painful memories and now the anxiety of seeing him at any moment. He still denies what he did to this day. That’s why I want to get my story out there, so people can read the truth. Edited by Julia Sidwell

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