From isolation to inspiration

Tauranga portrait photographer Charmaine Marinkovich.

Kiwi women who have decided not to be victims anymore are showing off their new-found empowerment in a personalised and heartfelt book.

Beautifully Scarred by photographer Charmaine Marinkovich will be filled with photographs and stories of women throughout New Zealand who have suffered some kind of trauma, such as illness, an accident, domestic violence, abuse, depression and loss of loved ones.

“These women have been through a lot, but they are also people who haven’t been held back by the trauma,” says Charmaine.

“It’s not easy to share your story. It takes you back to certain places and reminds you what you’ve been through, but it is also a good healing process seeing how far you have come.”

The Tauranga portrait photographer, who has been open about dealing with domestic violence on social media, says she experienced first-hand the feeling of isolation.

“I spoke to a lady who was a dog bite victim and wanted to share her story in some way, and because I have my own personal story of being in an abusive relationship, I felt instantly drawn to this idea.”

Charmaine put a call out for inspiring Kiwi women on her Facebook page more than a year ago and was instantly flooded with messages.

She then sent out a questionnaire for the women to fill out and from there chose women who were past their trauma.

“I had so many different questions that I asked them and by their writing and the way they answered them I could tell what stage they were at, how they felt about themselves and what had happened to them. I just went purely by that.”

Charmaine says a few Tauranga locals have been selected focusing on subjects of depression, grief and illness, and divorce.

“One of the women was not in a good marriage and she was five months pregnant with her second child and the baby was born early. She survived but her husband didn’t want a special needs baby and wanted the machines to be turned off. The woman held her ground, ended her marriage and brought up two kids by herself.”

She says the aim behind the book is to encourage conversation about many subjects that women deal with but don’t normally talk about.

“Anyone who picks up the book will be able to relate to at least one person and see themselves in the story, or they may know someone who is going through something similar.

“There are a lot of women who are in certain situations and they feel lost and feel like they are doing it alone, so I hope these stories bring light to them and show them that they do have a choice and they can turn it around if they wish to.”

For more information or to make a pledge to the campaign go to: and search ‘Beautifully Scarred - A Book of Hope’.