Into The Storm

A Documentary Film | Formerly Recovering Irma

The Movement

The Recovering Irma Movement was created to give all victims of domestic abuse a safe place to call home. We started the movement in conjunction with the film as a resource for people to acquire help, find solutions and have a platform to tell their stories. Our mission is to raise awareness about the struggles and severity of domestic violence while acting as a voice for the voiceless.


What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.

Examples of abuse include:

  • name-calling or putdowns
  • keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
  • withholding money
  • stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
  • actual or threatened physical harm
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • intimidation

Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.

The violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while. An important step to help yourself or someone you know in preventing or stopping violence is recognizing the warning signs listed under the Signs of an abusive relationship section.

ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM! Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavior problems.

If you are being abused, REMEMBER

  1. You are not alone
  2. It is not your fault
  3. Help is available
Source: "The Domestic Violence Handbook", Oakland County Coordinating Council Against Domestic Violence, The Domestic Violence Handbook website development and hosting donated by Creative Communciations Group. The promotional efforts are provided by The American Divorce Information Network, publishers of Divorce Online, site last updated on June 23, 2010, site referenced on June 23, 2010,

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner-constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up-chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more "yes" answers, the more likely it is that you're in an abusive relationship.


Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings
Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can't do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you're the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Your Partner's Belittling Behavior
Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you're embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Your Partner's Violent Behavior or Threats
Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?

Your Partner's Controlling Behavior
Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go or what you do?
  • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • constantly check up on you?
Source: "Signs of an abusive relationship".,, site last updated on June 23, 2010, site referenced on June 23, 2010,

Recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence and abuse

It's impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness any warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.

General warning signs of domestic abuse
People who are being abused may:

  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner.
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does.
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they're doing.
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner.
  • Talk about their partner's temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.

Warning signs of physical violence
People who are being physically abused may:

  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of "accidents."
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).

Warning signs of isolation
People who are being isolated by their abuser may:

  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner.
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.

The psychological warning signs of abuse
People who are being abused may:

  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn).
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.
Source: Recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence and abuse.,, site last updated on June 23, 2010, site referenced on June 23, 2010,

Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you're hesitating-telling yourself that it's none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it-keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.

Do's and Don't's


  • Ask if something is wrong.
  • Express concern.
  • Listen and validate.
  • Offer help.
  • Support his or her decisions.


  • Wait for him or her to come to you.
  • Judge or blame.
  • Pressure him or her.
  • Give advice.
  • Place conditions on your support.
Source: Recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence and abuse.,, adapted from NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, site last updated on June 23, 2010, site referenced on June 23, 2010,

Talk to the person in private and let him or her know that you're concerned. Point out the things you've noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you're there, whenever he or she feels ready to talk. Reassure the person that you'll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let him or her know that you'll help in any way you can.

Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they've often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

Source: Recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence and abuse.,, site last updated on June 23, 2010, site referenced on June 23, 2010,

Create A Personalized Safety Plan

Every individual in an abusive relationship needs a safety plan. Shelters and crisis counselors have been urging safety plans for years, and police departments, victim services, hospitals, and courts have adopted this strategy. Safety plans should be individualized -- for example, taking account of age, marital status, whether children are involved, geographic location, and resources available -- but still contain common elements.

When creating a safety plan:

  • Think about all possible escape routes. Doors, first-floor windows, basement exits, elevators, stairwells. Rehearse if possible.
  • Choose a place to go. To the home of a friend or relative who will offer unconditional support, or a motel or hotel, or a shelter - most importantly somewhere you will feel safe.
  • Pack a survival kit. Money for cab fare, a change of clothes, extra house and car keys, birth certificates, passports, medications and copies of prescriptions, insurance information, checkbook, credit cards, legal documents such as separation agreements and protection orders, address books, and valuable jewelry, and papers that show jointly owned assets. Conceal it in the home or leave it with a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative. Important papers can also be left in a bank deposit box.
  • Try to start an individual savings account. Have statements sent to a trusted relative or friend.
  • Avoid arguments with the abuser in areas with potential weapons. Kitchen, garage, or in small spaces without access to an outside door.
  • Know the telephone number of the domestic violence hotline. Contact it for information on resources and legal rights.
  • Review the safety plan monthly.
Source: "Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook", U.S. Department of Agriculture, Safety, Health and Employee Welfare Division, adapted from: "Preventing Domestic Violence" by Laura Crites in Prevention Communique, March 1992, Crime Prevention Division, Department of the Attorney General, Hawaii, site last updated on Monday, March 22, 2010 7:21:57 AM, referenced on June 23, 2010,

Myths About Family Violence

Myth: Family violence is rare...

  • Although statistics on family violence are not precise, it's clear that millions of children, women and even men are abused physically by family members and other intimates.
  • Myth:Family violence is confined to the lower classes...
  • Reports from police records, victim services, and academic studies show domestic violence exists equally in every socioeconomic group, regardless of race or culture.

Myth: Alcohol and drug abuse are the real causes of violence in the home...

  • Because many male batterers also abuse alcohol and other drugs, it's easy to conclude that these substances may cause domestic violence. They apparently do increase the lethality of the violence, but they also offer the batterer another excuse to evade responsibility for his behavior. The abusive man -- and men are the abusers in the overwhelming majority of domestic violence incidents -- typically controls his actions, even when drunk or high, by choosing a time and place for the assaults to take place in private and go undetected. In addition, successful completion of a drug treatment program does not guarantee an end to battering. Domestic violence and substance abuse are two different problems that should be treated separately.

Myth: Battered wives like being hit, otherwise they would leave...

  • The most common response to battering-- "Why doesn't she just leave?"-- ignores economic and social realities facing many women. Shelters are often full, and family, friends, and the workplace are frequently less than fully supportive. Faced with rent and utility deposits, day care, health insurance, and other basic expenses, the woman may feel that she cannot support herself and her children. Moreover, in some instances, the woman may be increasing the chance of physical harm or even death if she leaves an abusive spouse.
Source: "Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook", U.S. Department of Agriculture, Safety, Health and Employee Welfare Division, adapted from "Preventing Violence Against Women, Not Just a Women's Issue," National Crime Prevention Council, 1995, site last updated on March 22, 2010, referenced on June 23, 2010,

Where can I find help?

If you or someone you know are in an emergency situation, PLEASE CALL The National Domestic Violence Hotline (they provide anonymous & confidential help 24/7) ::

1.800.799.SAFE (7233)   |   1.800.787.3224 (TTY)   |

Helpful Links

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Info on Partner Violence

From the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services :: 
a listing of State organizations involved in stopping Violence Against Women (click on your state to find shelters in your area)
From the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) :: 
a listing of additional U.S. organizations supporting DV Awareness & prevention
For our international friends, from NCADV :: 
a listing of international agencies supporting DV awareness & prevention

AllState Click to Empower!
Avon Foundation for Women - Speak Out Against Domestic Violence
Break the Cycle
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
Community United Against Violence (CUAV)
Family Violence Prevention Fund
Kaiser Permanente Family Violence Prevention Center
Men Engage
Peace Over Violence
NCADV (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
The Pixel Project
San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium
Youth Over Violence

Website imagery by: Roberto Salas "Dia de los Muertos Altar/Art Installation", Escondido, California