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