Turning Trauma into Tattoos
A Brazilian artist is giving domestic violence victims beautiful free tattoos.
"It all started about two years ago, when I worked with a client who wanted to cover a large scar on her abdomen," says Brazilian tattoo artist Flavia Carvalho to HuffPost of her project 'A Pele da Flor' (The Skin of the Flower) where she gives women who've been victims of cruel domestic violence attacks stunning, colourful tattoos, that very cleverly cover up their (sometimes horrific) scars - free of charge. Carvalho was motivated to start the project after she saw the huge self-esteem boost the aforementioned woman received after seeing the tattoo: "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."
The phrase is originally a Portuguese expression, used to explain feelings that occur during difficult times. Carvalho has also said that the phrase "alludes to the fact that all of us women are like flowers and deserve to have our skin protected and embellished."
As well as helping to raise awareness about domestic violence in Brazil (and internationally) the tattoos have had a hugely transformative effect on the women who've received them, explained Carvalho to HuffPost: "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."
Take a look at some stunning images of Carvalho's incredible work below.
"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."
"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."
A scar left by a bullet:
A tattoo on a cancer victim whose undergone a masectomy (surgical breast removal):
If you'd like to talk to someone about a situation involving domestic violence or sexual assault, call 1800-RESPECT's free 24-hour counselling line - 1800 737 732. You can also visit their website. For comprehensive information on domestic violence in Australia, head to the Relationships Australia website.