Imagine the trauma a victim of abuse is required to heal from after an assault. Now, imagine how much more difficult such a task is when a physical scar serves as a daily reminder of the event which took place.
Brazilian artist Flavia Carvalho doesn’t need to imagine much, for she’s told all she needs to know by clients who have experienced such abuse.
It all started two years ago when a woman approached Flavia and asked for her help to cover a large scar on her abdomen.
“She told me that she was at a nightclub, and when she turned down a man who approached her, he stabbed her with a switchblade,” Carvalho told The Huffington Post in an interview. “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. Each tattoo would act as an instrument for empowerment and a self-esteem booster.”
The most inspiring part? The only “cost” a client has to commit to is a design idea. Carvalho offers the service to women who have experienced scarring from a mastectomy or domestic violence for free.
Now, two years after Carvalho’s first Pele da Flor client, women from all around Brazil are seeking her out for her considerate service.
“From Santa Catrina until Rondônia, via the interior of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife, [women] are coming to chat with me, tell their stories and show their brands, to build together a new chapter of these girls’ relationships with their own body,” she posted on her Facebook page.
The vibrant cherry blossom tattoo (shown below) covers a scar from a bullet wound fired from a gun by an ex-boyfriend. The branches symbolize femininity and life itself and remind the woman who received it that life should be lived to the fullest.
Carvalho’s now works with the Municipal Secretariat of Policies for Women and hopes to establish a partnership with the Women’s Police Station and a hospital in the city helping women undergo mastectomies.
“It is a grain of sand,” she said about her project’s efforts. “The world is full of things that need to be addressed. We have a long way to go regarding protecting women against violence.”
Learn more by visiting Flavia Carvalho’s Facebook Page.
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