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Australian Artist Offers Free Tattoos to Cover Up Self-Harm Scars

A 22-year-old tattoo artist from Brisbane, Australia is offering free tattoos to people who have self-harmed, as a means of moving on from their past and covering up their scars. On March 1, Whitney Develle posted a photo on Instagram of a tattoo cover-up with a text overlay reading “Attention: Free Tattoo,” and her post was met with such enthusiasm from individuals with self-harm scars that she was forced to amend her offer. According to Develle, the first 50 tattoo cover-up sittings will be free, one to two each week until the end of the year, and the rest will be given a significant discount.

When she first came up with the idea to offer free tattoos to cover up self-harm scars, Whitney Develle shared her plans on Instagram and Facebook, writing, “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.” Develle isn’t the first tattoo artist to offer to ink over self-harm scars, but the fact that she is so young and is willing to devote so much of her time to helping people with a painful past move on with their lives is certainly inspiring.

According to Develle, the tattoo cover-up idea was inspired by a friend of hers, who shared her self-harm scars with Develle. “She told me how much pain it brought her when people would question her about them or make comments,” she said. In order to help her move on from her pain, Develle offered to tattoo over the scars, and her friend was incredibly pleased with the result. “I want to change that stigma…I want [people who have self-harmed] to know that they no longer have to feel ashamed and that they no longer have to conceal their scars.”

The inquiries Whitney Develle received in response to her self-harm post obviously had a strong impact on her; she said the amount of positivity and support she received on social media was “humbling but also heartbreaking.” After amending her tattoo cover-up offer, Develle’s March 1 Instagram post was accompanied by the following caption: “Please note that given the overwhelming amount of beautiful people out there, I have decided to dedicate more of my time to offering highly discounted rates to anyone who is seeking to move forward from their past and embark on a new beginning.”

Develle’s free self-harm cover-up sessions are scheduled to begin on March 17, and will continue throughout the year, in what will likely be an emotional time for both the tattoo artist and her clients.

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