Last week, Whitney Develle, a tattoo artist based in Brisbane, Australia, posted on her Instagram that she would be dedicating one or two days a week to giving free tattoos to clients with a history of self-abuse; the tattoos would help cover the scars they had from self-harm.
Develle was inspired to make the offer because of a friend who had cut herself while battling an eating disorder.
"She told me how much pain it brought her when people would question her about them or make comments," Develle told 9news.au.com. "No one should ever have to feel like a public museum for people to ridicule."
Develle offered, free of charge, to cover up her friend's scars with tattoos, and the effect that this had on her life was extraordinary.
"The look on her face—money can't buy that,"Develle said. "[Afterwards] people were asking her about her tattoo. The scars became irrelevant—a thing of the past."
Realizing she could give the same gift to others, Develle put up a posting on social media saying that she would give free tattoos to clients who wanted to conceal their self-inflicted scars. The response was so overwhelming that she has since had to amend the post to say she would only be able to provide 50 free sittings until the end of the year but will offer discounted rates to everyone else who is interested.
"I want you to be able to look down at the scars that bring you pain, embarrassment, shame, and be able to put those feelings behind you and instead feel proud of the body part that now contains art and offers a new beginning," she wrote in her post.
Develle is not the only artist making this type of generous offer, as tattoo artists all over the world are stepping up to help people move on with their lives. An Ohio-based artist named Brian Finn is similarly spending one day a week covering up scars that were inflicted due to domestic violence, human trafficking, and self-harm.
And in Curitiba, Brazil, 31-year-old Flavia Carvalho transforms scars that women have gotten from domestic abuse or mastectomies into stunning floral tattoos.
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