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See the moving before-and-after photos of painful scars turned into art.

Violence against women scars both emotionally and physically; this artist tries to help.

See the moving before-and-after photos of painful scars turned into art.

A Brazilian tattoo artist is helping survivors of domestic violence in a unique way.

Two years ago, tattoo artist Flavia Carvalho was contacted by a woman who wanted to cover a large scar on her abdomen with a tattoo. The woman's story — a man stabbed her with a switchblade in a nightclub after she turned down his advances — was heart-wrenching. After tattooing the woman and seeing the joy and relief in her reaction, Flavia realized that her ink and needles could be used in a new way: to heal.



Flavia Carvalho has been giving back in an awesome way. All photos via Flavia's Facebook page and are used with permission.

Flavia began offering free tattoos to women who had scars resulting from domestic violence or mastectomies.

The project is called "A Pele da Flor," which translates from Portuguese as "The Skin of the Flower."

"The project's name refers to the Portuguese expression 'A flor da pele' (deeper than skin), which speaks of how strongly we feel when facing an extremely difficult or challenging situation," she told the Huffington Post. "'A Pele da Flor' also alludes to the fact that all of us women are like flowers and deserve to have our skin protected and embellished."

These scars were caused by a stab wound to the abdomen. Flavia tattooed this, as well as scars on the woman's hip.

Her work takes the traumatic and turns it into something empowering.

Scars can be permanent reminders of some of life's toughest moments. That's why it's so cool to see the transformation these scars undergo when Flavia layers a tattoo on top of them.

This woman was shot. Her tattoo covers the scar left by a bullet.

Each woman has her own story, and each one also has a unique way of moving forward, so Flavia works with each client to find a design to draw strength from.

"It is wonderful to see how [survivors'] relationship with their bodies changes after they get the tattoos," she said in her Huffington Post interview. "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."

One of Flavia's goals is to raise awareness about domestic violence.

It's a noble goal, but Flavia knows it'll take much more than her tattoos for the world to end violence against women.

This woman's ex-boyfriend stabbed her on the street.

"[My work] is a grain of sand; the world is full of things that need to be addressed," she told Huffington Post. "We have a long way to go regarding protecting women against violence."

It's always great to see people caring for one another. Flavia may see her work as just a "grain of sand," but to these women, it's so much more.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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