Removing Tattoos to Help Abuse Victims Heal

"I was in an extremely high-violent marriage for five years." This survivor had the name of her abusive ex-husband tattooed on her neck — and she's finally getting it removed thanks to a nonprofit at no cost.

Taking back the past

Stephanie Andresen-Stevens helps abuse survivors heal by removing reminders of their painful past. She removes tattoos for free through her nonprofit Restorative Ink. Andresen-Stevens who has owned the award-winning Onalaska massage therapy, skin care and spa business for over a decade, launched Restorative Ink, a discounted or free tattoo removal service for human trafficking or domestic violence victims or former gang members with affiliation markings.

This anonymous client is getting a tattoo of her abusive ex-husband’s name removed. She asked Brut to hide her identity so he can’t find her. Stevens takes the safety of survivors seriously by protecting their identities. Stevens is based in Wisconsin, but she wants to expand Restorative Ink’s services throughout the U.S. — where more than 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience Physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking by an intimate partner according to CDC.

Andresen-Stevens was introduced to the concept six years ago during a trip to Denver for a laser company event. There, she met organizers and members of the Jails to Jobs program, lending her hand at removing the tattoos that could harm their chances at employment. Andresen-Stevens, who invested $250,000 in the PicoWay laser tattoo removal machine and spent an additional $10,000 on training and certifications, reached out to organizations — including New Horizons, the La Crosse Task Force to End Modern Slavery, First Free Church and local social workers and parole officers — for referrals of those who may need Restorative Ink’s services. She has so far provided tattoo removal solutions to over a dozen people between the ages of 25 to 55, the bulk of them being women. Andresen-Stevens says she has gotten letters from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, with survivor inmates bearing gang affiliation tattoos on their faces, hands or arms hoping to take advantage of the empowering Restorative Ink services upon release.


06/08/2019 12:00 PM


  • Elizabeth A.
    12/17/2020 01:17

    What a wonderful service!

  • John Kezz
    10/13/2020 05:53


  • Therese C.
    05/12/2020 14:07

    God bless your work with offering some form of healing for these victims.

  • Alysha V.
    03/12/2020 17:00

    Honestly, I think tattoos are great. I've got five and the fifth is the newest and on my chest covering a scar that usually doesn't show up in pictures but I still hate it bc I did something stupid and so I got it covered up just like on my left arm and it makes me so much more happier to have them

  • Jessica T.
    03/11/2020 22:04

    Come heal me please....... lol I don’t think there is anyone out there that can “heal” me 😂🤦🏻‍♀️

  • Beth C.
    03/08/2020 19:51

    Loveeee this.

  • Tena R.
    03/06/2020 06:11

    Love love love this!!!

  • Richard D.
    03/01/2020 01:17

    What a great program!!! I know so tattoo shops will do cover ups too

  • Serene R.
    02/28/2020 23:40

    I got mine covered through a different organization. Now I have a 2 beautifully done peices covering the ugly reminder.

  • Keith S.
    02/28/2020 23:07

    Greed, power, control, lust. Destroying lives permanently. Thank God people show compassion and love to these poor victims.

  • Aida P.
    02/28/2020 22:14

    Why would any woman tattoo a mans name on their body.

  • Nathan B.
    02/28/2020 07:09

    I wish they can remove the emotional tattoo that my abuser left...but I am happy that others can get help with removing that physical reminder so the survivors can start the emotional healing...

  • Belinda B.
    02/28/2020 01:04

    Bless You! There should be more like you to serve the Community!

  • Karissa H.
    02/27/2020 06:21

    watch this

  • Jennifer D.
    02/26/2020 18:35

    Wow she's so brave

  • Necole Z.
    02/26/2020 16:40

    You are an amazing cupel! Wow!!!!!!!!

  • Benjamin E.
    02/26/2020 11:19

    Lol I have a void stamp tattooed over my exs name...I cant tell you how many times that girl put hands on me

  • Jenn R.
    02/25/2020 23:45

    Thanks to this amazing woman -- she is giving hope to those who had none and restoring there minds.. thank you for looking out for these woman! That's amazing and so hopeful for many

  • Savanna H.
    02/23/2020 23:34

    I have one that sucks you can see one of my letters too

  • Jim P.
    02/22/2020 00:58

    The only way any woman should be marked is on her heart with all the love her man can give.

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