• Sarah Schoenrock

The Scars Project: Australian Artist Gives Free Tattoos to Victims of Self-Harm

Photo courtesy of Whitney Develle's Facebook.

Whitney Develle is an Australian tattoo artist that created “The Scars Project.” Her Facebook page explains, “I decided to do this to raise awareness for Mental Illness and inform people of the options they do possibly have in covering their self-harm. I want them to be confident again, to feel beautiful not just inside but out, to be able to leave the past behind them and venture on a more positive journey.” The 22-year-old artist is giving self-harm victims free tattoos that cover their scars.

According to ABC, the project began when Develle spoke to a friend’s girlfriend at a party. The woman showed Develle her scars from when she was a teenager and asked if it was possible that they could be covered with a tattoo. Develle had never before tried to cover scars with a tattoo and decided to try. The former self-harm victim received a tattoo of Australian flowers over her scars. When finished, Develle stated, “The way the tattoo made her feel, it was like she was wearing armour on top of her scars.”

Photo courtesy of Whitney Develle's Facebook.

Every week for one or two days, Develle spends her time giving free tattoos to those who have suffered from self-harm. She has received so many requests from people all over the world. She struggles with denying some a tattoo, as she is not able to cover fresh and/or raised scars. For those she is not able to schedule in on her free days, she still offers a tattoo at a highly discounted price. So far, she has done a total of eight tattoos for her project.

One of the recipients of Develle’s tattoo’s stated on her facebook page, “I came to terms with my scarred body many years ago, and most of the time forget they are there, but it made me rather uncomfortable when friends, family and even strangers would comment on them and ask "why did you do that?" I sought out Whitney and discussed covering my left forearm which was the worst of my limbs - not because I was ashamed or embarrassed, but because I was ready to move on from that chapter of my life. Now I get comments on how beautiful my tattoo is, and the scars underneath are virtually invisible. I could not be happier with the outcome.”

Develle posts her work on both her Facebook page and her Instagram.

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