Shy Dand withdrawn Dawn Cottrell (Kimberlee Peterson) feels as if she is unale to assert any control over her life. She is a teenager who attempts to please the world but feels like she is unable to please anyone. Her mother, Joyce, is vindictive and seems to take out her anger onthe rest of the family. As a result, Dawn feels like a failure and unable to please her parents. Unlike most people, who are able to express extreme emotions outwardly through words or through tears, Dawn's only mechanism for channeling her pain is through self-injury.
This physical pain brought on by cutting or burning herself secures for Dawn relief from the emotional pain that she otherwise would be unable to release. The film provides an insightful look into a disorder that for years has been disregarded or shunned because people simply were not ready to deal with it.