CURITIBA, Brazil - Flavia Carvalho, 31, is a tattoo artist based out of Curitiba, Brazil. Two years ago a woman sought out Carvalho’s services to cover up a scar on her abdomen.
Carvalho quickly agreed, but found herself in shock when she learned how the woman had gotten the scar.
“She told me that she was at a nightclub, and when she turned down a man who approached her, he stabbed with a switchblade,” Carvalho told The Huffington Post. “When she saw the finished tattoo, she was extremely moved, and that deeply touched me.”
This woman’s story inspired Carvalho, who decided that she wanted to provide tattoos to women who had scars from domestic violence or mastectomies.
“Each tattoo would act as an instrument for empowerment and a self-esteem booster,” she said.
So she started the A Pele da Flor (The Skin of the Flower) project, providing victims of violence with free tattoos.
Carvalho uses her Facebook page as a way to share the stories of the women she tattoos, providing before and after pictures.
“The sense of affection, sisterhood and camaraderie is deeper than I ever imaged,” she said. “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.”
Carvalho now works with local police and women’s groups to help her services reach victims of violence.
The ultimate goal, she says, is to raise awareness for this incredibly important issue.
“It’s a grain of sand,” she told The Huffington Post. “The world is full of things that need to be addressed. We have a long way to go regarding protecting women against violence.”