Whitney Develle, a young Australian woman, is offering free tattoos to those desiring to conceal scars. Develle developed the idea after a friend showed her scars from previous self harm.

“She told me how much pain it brought her when people would question her about them or make comments,” Ms Develle said. “No one should ever have to feel like a public museum for people to ridicule.”

Develle offered to tattoo over the scars, to which her friend agreed. “(Afterwards) people were asking about her tattoo. The scars became irrelevant—a thing of the past.”

After this experience, Develle posted on social media a pledge of one or two days a week to giving free tattoos to those desiring to cover old scars. The post received thousands of likes and shares, and due to this overwhelming response, Develle amended the original post, offering 50 free sittings total, with discounted tattoos for all other interested individuals.

Develle said the response was “humbling but also heartbreaking.”

“I have been up late most nights with a close friend replying to each and every person,” she said.

The majority of those who responded were individuals with past self-harm.
“There are grandparents, mothers and fathers, young adults who have moved beyond their days of self-inflicted harm,” she said. “I want them to know that they no longer have to feel ashamed and that they no longer have to conceal their scars.”

She also wants to change societal attitudes about individuals who have self-inflicted harm. “Society looks [down at people with self-harm scars] and immediately thinks they are unstable or unfit to be amongst the rest of us,” she said. “I want to change that stigma.”

Hannah Joy is a student and childrens' literature enthusiast. She enjoys singing, nature walks, and hummus. She hopes to bring joy and truth into the world through the written word.