This Amazing Tattoo Artist Covers The Scars Of Domestic Violence Survivors For Free!


There are many organizations around the world which work to reduce and raise awareness about domestic violence and abuse. It is still an issue that deserves much attention, education and prevention. In the United States alone 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced rape, domestic violence or stalking by their partners, which is often referred to as intimate partner violence.

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war. If we take war as seriously as we have, then judging by these numbers we should also be taking domestic violence as seriously. Unfortunately it is not always the case which is why the number of victims is so high.

For those who do manage to escape abusive situations, they have new chance at life. Some come away from the abuse relatively unscathed, but others bear the emotional and physical scars that may never leave them. Scars are a sign of healing, sure, but often looking at a physical sign of pain can keep a person trapped in the memory. Which is why what Brazilian tattoo artist Flavia Carvalho is doing for survivors of domestic violence is incredible.

Roughly two years ago the Curitiba native had a woman ask her to tattoo a design over her stomach to cover a major scar. The scar was a result of a man at a nightclub stabbing her with a switchblade because she rejected his advances. When Flavia finished her design on this woman and saw what a difference it made to her physically and emotionally, she was struck by the idea of helping more women in the same position.


She told the Huffington Post in an email how she refined the idea and approached a few organizations in order to let them know to promote her services. Her project is called “A Pele da Flor” (The Skin of the Flower) and the aim is to tattoo women who have been victims of domestic violence for free in order to help boost their self-esteem and transform the scars into something beautiful, rather than be an ugly reminder of the past.

So far the Municipal Secretariat of Policies for Women wants to get involved as her story went viral after the official Facebook page of the City of Curitiba shared about what she is doing. Because of the reaction she is getting, Flavia wants to help as many women as possible and has even offered her tattoo services to cancer survivors.

“The Municipal Secretariat of Policies for Women and I intend to establish a partnership with the Women’s Police Station, in order to offer my services in a more active and direct way to women that go there to report incidences of violence. I will also participate in the Women’s National Day in November, and the Pink October events, in partnership with Hospital Erasto Gaetner, which helps women that undergo mastectomies under the United Health System,” she told HuffPost.

Flavia says the name of her tattoo project is intended to draw attention to the fact that she is turning a physically, as well as emotionally, negative situation into something beautiful.

“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. ‘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,” she said.


And it’s not just attention from Brazilian women she is getting. Flavia says as interest has grown, she is getting requests from around the world.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Flavia also told the Huffington Post that although she doesn’t experience any discrimination, per say, for being a female artist in an overwhelmingly male industry, she is well aware that she is one out of a very small group of women making her mark.

“It is indeed very difficult for women to break into this industry. At the tattoo convention here in Curitiba, out of over 150 tattoo artists in 100 booths, I was among only six women artists. Out of the tattoo contest’s 32 prizes in different categories, only myself and one other woman took home awards,” she admitted.

She may not be your typical tattoo artist who gets noticed in the same way as those who make a lot of money tattooing celebrities etc like Kat Von D, in our eyes she is part of an elite and special group of artists who are using their talent to transform the lives of others in a profound way. This tattoo artist helps women who have had mastectomies feel beautiful again by tattooing nipples on their breasts that have undergone such a massive change. This artist helps former sex trafficking victims break free of their past by agreeing to tattoo over their pimp “branding”.


And on the topic of domestic violence specifically, Flavia Carvalho is not the only average citizen doing her part to help victims and survivors. A California-based moving company Meathead Movers, founded in 1997 by student athletes, announced in early September that it has partnered with a local anti-domestic violence organization called Good Shepherd to offer their services for free to victims who are trying to escape or who need help to remove themselves from an abusive living in environment.

“We know how hard it is to pack up someone’s life and move it to a new location — but it’s unimaginable to think about a woman and her children trying to pack up all their belongings and flee before the abuser returns home,” said Aaron Steed, president and CEO of Meathead.

“When we realized we had the resources to help provide a fresh start for these victims, we knew Good Shepherd was the perfect organization to connect us with those who need our services most.”

Another spokeswoman for the company said what they are doing doesn’t just help their female customers, but also has an impact on the company in a powerful way.

“Not only do these services help the victims of domestic abuse but they directly impact Meathead employees — consisting of predominantly young men who believe that real men don’t hit women, real men help those in need,” she said.

It gives us great hope to know that the issue of domestic violence and abuse is not just seen as a problem for governments or NGOs to fix. Everyday people and businesses can have a great impact on their communities in a positive manner if they use the resources they have. Everyone has the power to make a difference or change someone’s life.


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