Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

This woman helps domestic abuse victims by offering free tattoos

10420311_442135085960346_5936089798371020228_n.png

When Brazilian tattoo artist Flavia Carvalho was approached by a woman who wanted to cover a scar caused by a man who stabbed her in the abdomen with a blade when she turned him down in a nightclub, she realised her skills could be used for a greater cause. 

Touched by how moved her client was with her new ink, Carvalho began offering free body art to survivors of domestic violence looking to conceal permanent marks on their skin.

Two years on and under the project name “A Pele da Flor” which translates to “Skin of the Flower” (and comes from the Portuguese expression meaning 'deeper than skin'), Carvalho has since transformed many women's scars into beautiful, empowering and cathartic tattoos. 

Speaking about her clients to Huffington Post, Carvalho says, “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.”

A vine of cherry blossoms cover a woman's scar caused by a bullet fired by her ex-boyfriend

A vine of cherry blossoms cover a woman's scar caused by a bullet fired by her ex-boyfriend

“Then we design the tattoo and we schedule the session. They become excited, optimistic. 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.”

Carvalho takes pride in helping survivors of domestic abuse restore their self-esteem and has reached out to NGOs to show her work and raise awareness of women's issues, including Brazil's Municipal Secretariat of Policies for Women, who applauded her work.

Another domestic violence victim has a scar covered by a bird and lotus flowers

A domestic violence victim has a scar covered by a bird and lotus flowers

While all of her client's stories have resonated with Carvalho in some shape of form, she says, “The one that shocked me the most was the story of a 17 year-old girl who dated an older man and, for months, suffered from the physically abusive relationship. When he wanted to break up with her, he scheduled a meeting, and after they began to fight, he stabbed her several times in her abdomen, and violently raped her.

“She ended up with a perineum tear, had to undergo a number of surgeries and spent several days in the ICU [Intensive Care Unit]. She is so young, and she has been left with so many scars. The aggressor, however, was a first time offender, so he is still out on the streets.”

An injury caused by broken glass covered by a bespoke illustration by Carvalho

An injury caused by broken glass covered by a bespoke illustration by Carvalho

Carvalho is currently working with to establish a partnership with the Women's Police Station in Brazil, which will allow her to offer her services in a more active and direct way to women who report incidences of violence. She will also participate in the Women's National Day in November and the Pink October events in Brazil.

Despite the success of her project, she describes it as “a grain of sand”.

“The world is full of things that need to be addressed. We have a long way to go regarding protecting women against violence.”

To see more of Carvalho's work follow her on Facebook.

One woman's scar is covered by a symbolic illustration

One woman's scar is covered by a symbolic illustration

First mastectomy cover design

Carvalho also works with women recovering from mastectomy operations

Related

robin williams and daughter zelda williams instagram baby picture-stylist.co.uk.jpg

Robin Williams’ daughter writes open letter on grief and depression

Capture.JPG

Fawcett Society urges government to tackle “pathetic” gender pay gap

hipster-barbie.jpg

Barbie account mocks the picture perfect lifestyle snaps of Instagram

finetattoo.jpg

Woman's tattoo illustrates what it’s like to suffer from depression

O-Parto-08.jpg

Photographer captures powerful images of girlfriend’s labour

arrow tattoo.jpg

Poignant, creative and clever tattoos

helen carmina photography c section cesarean baby photograph.jpg

“Giving life shouldn’t be a competition of how you did it”

orchid.jpg

The story behind my tattoo: a symbol of someone I loved very much

abby and matt humphrey newborn dog shoot-elisha minnette photography-stylist.co.uk.jpg

Couple tired of being asked the big baby question respond brilliantly

Comments

More

Netflix now lets you request the shows you actually want to watch

Time to make your feelings known.

by Moya Crockett
30 Mar 2017

The Glastonbury line-up has been confirmed

Male acts outnumber female 62 to 24.

by Hayley Spencer
30 Mar 2017

Reese's have created a peanut butter creme egg

The ultimate Easter treat?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
30 Mar 2017

The top 5 food and drink trends you’ll be seeing at weddings this year

The rise of the brunch wedding (we’re on board)

by Amy Swales
30 Mar 2017

Meet Sebastian and Luna: two dogs with a love that is real and true

They just got engaged, because of course.

by Moya Crockett
30 Mar 2017

Two thirds of us wouldn't recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer

Would you be able to identify the telltale signs?

by Hayley Spencer
29 Mar 2017

Watch this moving video about representation in the arts

This dance company hopes to inspire young African American girls

29 Mar 2017

10 brides explain why they chose to have a bridesmaid-free wedding

Is less really more when it comes to your wedding party?

by Kayleigh Dray
29 Mar 2017

Lego builder: it's a real job and you can apply for it

Legoland is hiring a model designer

by Amy Swales
29 Mar 2017

A man has been cleared of sexual assault because he didn’t ‘enjoy’ it

Diego Cruz Alonso, 21, was found not guilty of assault on Monday.

by Moya Crockett
29 Mar 2017