Peter Strauss in Men Don't Tell (1993)

The Other Side

Ed MacAffrey (Peter Strauss - A Father's Choice) loves his wife Laura (Judith Light - My Boyfriend's Back) it is part of the reason why for years he has put up with the physical abuse she has dished out on him, he also put up with it because he didn't want to put his children in danger if he left. Of course as the man of the house it also wouldn't be right if he was an abused husband but one night things go too far and in defending himself Laura ends up falling through a window. It leads to Ed's arrest on suspected wife beating as the police don't believe him when he tells of the abuse he has suffered for years and are planning to charge him with trying to kill his wife.

Whilst researching "Men Don't Tell" I found something quite shocking, it was the fact that when it first aired it caused uproar amongst women's groups and subsequently lead to it receiving limited airings. Now in fairness "Men Don't Tell" is a made for TV movie from 1993 when the world was a different place but it is hard to believe that a movie which showed that abuse happens to men could cause such a furore.

Judith Light in Men Don't Tell (1993)

Anyway as to the movie itself, well when I say that "Men Don't Tell" is a typical made for TV movie it isn't an insult but more a case of being standard it presentation, look, editing and acting. As such it opens on the dramatic night where Laura is hurt and Ed ends up arrested and then after that it takes us back to the beginning with Ed telling his story to the cops. What we watch is how Laura wants things her way, how she struggles being the house wife and in private takes her frustrations out on Ed by physically attacking him and losing it in front of their children.

The thing about "Men Don't Tell" is that for the most it is very similar to your typical story of a woman being abused. We get to see how Ed covers for his wife's abuse, lying to friends about bruises, hiding things from her because he knows it will anger her if she found out and staying because of his love of her but also his children. But there is of course the other side, that of a man's role being the tough guy and so no one believes him when he reluctantly says his wife batters him. And this leads into the whole drama of the cops automatically thinking Ed is the abuser rather than the abused.

Now as I said "Men Don't Tell" is a typical made for TV movie and a lot of the characters are not as realistic as they could have been. But the central characters of Ed and Laura work with Peter Strauss doing a good job of the husband who shows remarkable strength by standing by his wife whilst Judith Light brings out the violent side of her character with a brutal ferocity.

What this all boils down to is that "Men Don't Tell" is in many ways a typical made for TV movie about domestic abuse with a familiar style and array of characters. But with the typical story telling the flip side with the man being abused it is interesting and does a good job of showing what some men go through.