Meet the tattoo artist who’s covering up the scars of domestic violence survivors, free of charge

Inspiration

Meet Flavia Carvalho. She’s 31-years-old. She’s from Curitiba, Brazil. She’s a talented tattooer.

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Women become the victims of domestic violence and that leaves scars and marks on their bodies which remains lifelong. Flavia Carvalho developed a project, dubbed “A Pele da Flor” (The Skin of the Flower). It all started 2 years ago. A client came to her. She wanted Flavia to cover up a scar on her abdomen. She was a victim of a violent attack and she had a terrible story. Flavia was inspired to help more such women.

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 In an interview with the Huffington Post, she said,

She told me that she was at a nightclub, and when she turned down a man who approached her, he stabbed her with an switchblade.

When she saw the finished tattoo, she was extremely moved, and that deeply touched me.

I was suddenly struck by the idea of providing free tattoos to women who were left with scars following domestic violence or mastectomies.

Each tattoo would act as an instrument for empowerment and a self-esteem booster.

Later on, she started helping such women with tattoos and she did it free of charge. Here are some before and after pictures of the tattoos. This woman in the below picture was shot by her boyfriend.

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This woman was stabbed by broken glass.

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Media often carries her pictures with the background stories.

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About the feedback of the work she does for women, she says,

The feedback I have gotten from women who were helped by this project has been extremely surprising. The sense of affection, sisterhood and camaraderie is deeper than I ever imagined. They contact me from all over the country, as well as from abroad. They come to the studio, share their stories of pain and resilience, and they show me their scars. Embarrassed, they cry, and hug me. Then we design the tattoo and we schedule the session. They become excited, optimistic. It is wonderful to see how their relationship with their bodies changes after they get the tattoos. I follow many of them on Facebook, and I see how, after being ashamed of their scarred bodies, they now post pictures in dresses, and they look happy, changed. It is transformative.

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She shared the story of one of the girls she met which moved her the most:

They all move me, but the one that shocked me the most was the story of a 17 year-old girl who dated an older man and, for months, suffered from the physically abusive relationship. When he wanted to break up with her, he scheduled a meeting, and after they began to fight, he stabbed her several times in her abdomen, and violently raped her. She ended up with a perineum tear, had to undergo a number of surgeries and spent several days in the ICU. She is so young, and she has been left with so many scars. The aggressor, however, was a first time offender, so he is still out on the streets.

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She believes she has a long way to go:

It is a grain of sand; the world is full of things that need to be addressed. We have a long way to go regarding protecting women against violence.

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All the images are sourced from the Huffington Post.

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