No One Would Tell (1996) is an American teen crime film about a young woman, Stacy Collins (Candace Cameron), who gets into a serious and fast relationship with a popular boy, Robert “Bobby” Tennison (Fred Savage). Bobby turns out to be physically and mentally abusive to Stacy while manipulating her into believing everything was her fault and that she needs to do better in the relationship.
The plot of the film starts out with you seeing Stacy acting and being a normal teenage girl. Going to high school, having a best friend, and not worrying about anything other than that. You see that it is just her and her mom, with endless boyfriends that the mom brings in. Where those boyfriends do not treat the mom with respect she deserves, showing the daughter that is how men treat women. When she constantly tells her mom that she shouldn’t have men treat her that way and for her to stand up for herself, but the mom dismisses the daughter because she feels the daughter does not know what she is talking about.
Stacy starts to hang out with this popular boy, Bobby, that everyone knows and loves that is a little bit older than her. They start to date and everything seems to be amazing that he is the perfect boyfriend. Then, as the movie progresses, you start to see the warning signs. Bobby constantly wanting to know who she hangs out with, where she is at all times of the day, and when she is going to call him. Forbidding her from seeing and hanging out with other guys. Stacy brushes this off as him being protective, but her best friend is skeptical of the whole thing. Stacy and Bobby go to the dance together and when Bobby goes to talk to someone, a guy friend of Stacy’s went to talk to her. Bobby notices this and you could see the clear rage on his face, he stalks over to him grabbing her arm to the point she is yelling at him to stop you are hurting me. He doesn’t listen, but still drags away from her friend yelling at her and she yells back causing him to slap her straight across the face. Causing her to grab her face and everyone to stop what they are doing, her best friend immediately comes over as Bobby is dragging Stacy outside. Wondering why he hit her best friend like that, Bobby dismissing her telling her to mind her own business, and Stacy defending him saying it was her fault she should have listened to Bobby. Her best friend not taking those excuses and pleading that Stacy come home with her, but Stacy goes home with Bobby. Everyone at the dance saw and heard what happened, but did not say or anything. These things started to happen over and over again, leaving bruises all over her body because Bobby felt like she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to do. Leaving her best friend pleading that she tell somebody about this and get help and to never go back to Bobby. It took a lot of convincing, but she finally said okay and to never went back to him. Bobby did not take that well, he kept calling and persisting that he needed to talk to Stacy and know where she is. That was short-lived when Bobby manipulated Stacy to thinking that everything was her fault, convinced her to come over as “just friends” and give him a haircut. They got into an argument and she stormed off when he hit her yet again, and then convinced her that he was going to give her a ride home, but it wasn’t to her home. He got her to walk him along the lake, but she kept telling him that it is over and there will be nothing left between them and to just drop everything. He did not take that well grabbing her arm, squeezing it, and telling her but you promised we would be together forever. He started to strangle her and then proceeded to stab her and dump her body into the lake.
Her best friend and mom notice her missing trying to ask everyone around town if they have seen her, including Bobby. He tries to convince everyone even the cops that he didn’t know where she had gone and tried to help the investigation, by leading them all the wrong ways. The best friend didn’t buy it for one second, trying to convince everyone to tell what they all knew to the cops. That they all saw Bobby abuse her at some point in time, but they were reluctant. The best friend ultimately blamed herself for what had happened to her and then the police finally got an anonymous tip about where her body is. The police found her body at the very same lake Bobby have found her at and opened an investigation against him. All of her high school peers testified their story of what happened between Stacy and Bobby. Mostly saying that “Bobby was a good guy”, “how could he do something like this”, “yeah we saw him hit her, but she probably derived it because she never listened to him in the first place”, and the only one in the favor of Stacy was her mom and her best friend.
The judge who resigned in the movie made the decision of Bobby with his sentence being guilty of murder in the first degree and life without parole, prior to a case like this happening to him with another girl from his old high school. Except she got out alive from that relationship, unfortunately, Stacy didn’t. The words that remiss in many young girls’ minds after watching this movie was ones by the judge with eerie music playing in the background of the real-life horrors of these situations that happened every day, “Before we leave, there’s something else that I wanted to say: How many of you have been hit? Who among you slaps their girlfriends? Well, this is against the law. This is wrong. And you know what? You watched it happen to Stacy and you did nothing. You have a responsibility to the people that you care about. When you see them hurting her, you see them in trouble, you step in and you tell someone so that this does not happen again.”
The Lifetime movie is one shown in school and by mothers to their children to show what to do if you are in a situation like this. This film opens your eyes to the horror of the domestic abuse young girls go through every day and knowing the warning signs. Being based on a true story, quite frankly this film, watching at a young age, could scare you knowing that women and girls go through this every day, some not knowing how to get out of it or don’t have any help from anyone to help them get out. Young girls experience this every day not knowing where to go for help or even think all of the abuse is their fault.
According to DVS (Domestic Violence Services), “Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. 1 in 3 girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.” More than 70% of abused teens never tell anybody what they are going through or do not know how to get the proper help they need. Even in 2021, this still goes on today and there needs to be more awareness made about it.
If you are a loved one is struggling with this there are resources and hotlines to call to get the proper help you need:
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).