“Outrageously courageous,” “formidable” and “strong” are just a few ways sexual abuse survivor Lyndal has been described.
In 1990, Lyndal was a boarder at the prestigious Toowoomba Preparatory School and was sexually abused by the school’s housemaster, Kevin Guy. She was just 12-years-old at the time.
In her 20s, Lyndal had the courage to speak up about the abuse in a landmark civil trial, as depicted in the new Australian film Don’t Tell.
Her lawyer, Stephen Roche—who also wrote the book Don’t Tell—says the film succeeds in shining a light on the abuse that occurred decades ago.
"It’s a story about justice and what young girls are capable of doing,” he explains. “Lyndal’s a real example to others of being able to speak up and be heard and ultimately prevail. What she did was outrageously courageous.”
The landmark case exposed a cover-up by the Anglican Church involving the alleged abuse of at least 20 girls, The Australian reports.
It also changed the way Australia handles child abuse claims and eventually led to a royal commission into the sexual abuse of children.
“In this case the school was found to be responsible for what the boarding housemaster did because they either knew or should have known what he was doing,” Roche recounts.
16 years on from the trial, the lawyer hopes the film will offer some solace to viewers.
“I just hope that it encourages people who may be feeling that they’re the only one or that they’re alone or that they don’t have any option," he says.
Don’t Tell is directed by Tori Garrett and stars Sara West as Lyndal, alongside Rachel Griffiths, Susie Porter, Jaqueline McKenzie, Gyton Grantley and Jack Thompson.
Producer Scott Corfield predicts the courtroom drama will start a conversation about what is often considered unspeakable.
“The message is a clear one, and it’s for all of us, about better understanding the issue of abuse and also changing the conversation surrounding it,” he explains.
“It isn’t a taboo subject and it's something we all need to talk about.”
He adds: “This film is a tough subject matter but the feedback is this isn’t a hard watch. It’s an inspiring tale of one very courageous woman who decided to take on the fight of her life.”
Don’t Tell is in cinemas now.