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A Tattoo Artist Is Giving Domestic Violence Survivors New Beginnings

In Brazil, Flavia Carvalho works with women to cover up scars of violence.

Motivated by her desire to help transform bodies of trauma into bodies of beauty, artist Flavia Carvalho is tattooing women with domestic violence scars in Brazil. Two years ago, she tattooed over a large scar on a women’s abdomen. The customer she shared with Carvalho the intimate details of her attack, from that moment Carvalho was compelled to start the project A Pele da Flor to empower women to move beyond their scars through tattoo art. 

Carvalho told The Huffington Post of this first emotional encounter: “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.”

Image by Flavia Carvalho via Facebook

Carvalho now performs these colorful cover-ups for free, and has the local support of her city of Curitiba from civic administrations including the Municipal Secretariat of Policies for Women and a handful of local NGOs. She works with women’s groups and the local police to be in direct contact with more survivors. She posts the before and after images on her Facebook page to bring attention to domestic violence. She captions one such photo with "Replace the violence with peace, replace hatred with love."

A Pele da Flor is a Portuguese expression akin to "more than skin-deep." Through her work, Carvalho hopes to create safe places for women to share their stories and lead healthy, confident lives again. She says she hopes her tattoos and project shed greater light to issues of domestic violence both in Brazil and worldwide. Check out some of her work below:

Image by Flavia Carvalho via Facebook

Image by Flavia Carvalho via Facebook

Learn more about A Pele da Flor on Facebook

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