Don’t Tell is a powerful film about sexual abuse, victim blaming and a world so caught up in preserving reputations that it ignores people who need help the most.
There are times during this brilliant Australian-made film where you’ll want to turn away, because the images appearing on screen can be an intense movie-going experience.
But missing even a moment of this movie would be an injustice and a mistake. Because this story really happened, right here in our own backyard, and this is a tale that needs to be told.
The film is based on lawyer Stephen Roche’s book Don’t Tell and tells the true story of Lyndal (Sara West), a young woman who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the prolonged sexual abuse she suffered as a 12 year old, all while attending the prestigious Toowoomba Prep School.
The abuse was at the hands of boarding master, Kevin Guy (Gyton Grantley).
Don't Tell pulls no punches in its first moments. The film opens straight onto a scene where Lyndal, now aged 21, is engaged in a sexual relationship with a married man. She is only just able to flee the place she had been calling home as gun shots ring out behind her.
With nowhere else left to turn, Lyndal returns to her parents in a rural town in Northern NSW. From there, she makes her way back to Toowoomba, a town she hasn't been back to in 11 years, and decides to seek counsel from Toowoomba lawyer Stephen Roche (Aden Young).
Lyndal has been estranged from her family for many years, but now the clock is ticking, as there is only a small window of time left to bring her case to trial before she turns 22 and her chance is gone forever.
Throughout the film, the story is told through slow, almost nightmarish flashbacks to Lyndal's childhood - in stark contrast to the brutal present-day moments in the courtroom.