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Tattoos Ease Pain for Bataclan Survivors
Survivors of the Bataclan attack in Paris have used tattoos to cope with the trauma.
Like dozens of other survivors of the Nov. 13, 2015 attack at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, Laura Leveque got herself tattooed. "I was soaked in blood and flesh. The dead seeped into me," she said. Two years after the attack she still feels "in limbo" - to get her "body back and transform the horror into something beautiful."
Now Leveque carries a raven on her shoulder surrounded by smaller tattoos of an eclipse, a snake biting its own tail to symbolise the "cycle or life," and flowers growing on a battlefield.
Fanny Proville who lost her partner Olivier shows her tattoo. The words say, "Sometimes you need to let things go."
"I know he is there," she said, "even if he is not."
Stephanie Zarev had a phoenix tattooed on her arm where she was hit by shrapnel to show that "despite the horror of that night, there's lots to live for," she said.
Ruben who spent six months in the hospital had the motto of Paris, "Fluctuat nec mergitur" (battered but not sunk), which became a defiant slogan after the attacks, tattooed on his arm.
"Without having a big sign saying, 'I was at the Bataclan,' I wanted to mark it," he said.
"It was Friday the 13th, there were 13 of us in the mosh pit in front of the stage, and we all got out alive," recalled Ludmila Profit who had the number tattooed inside a clover leaf behind her ear.
She added a musical note and a profanity, "to say 'F--- the terrorists,'" to show her pride and defiance "at being able to live for those who are no longer here," she said.
Sophie took two bullets in her leg and now cannot move her foot. She covered her thigh with a huge Mexican Day of the Dead "Catrina" skeleton and a sunflower tattoo on her foot.
"I did not want to sublimate my wounds, I wanted to illuminate them", she said.
"I didn't have a wound. I needed something," said David Fritz Goeppinger of his tattoo of the date of the attack in roman numerals. He also added V/V meaning they were five friends before and after the attack.
Goeppinger shows his tattoo.
Three months after she survived the slaughter, Nahomy Beuchet had the date of the attack tattooed on the inside of her arm along with "Peace, Love, Death Metal," the title of an album by Eagles of Death Metal, the Californian band performing at the Bataclan.
Alexandra was shot in the elbow at the Carillon bar opposite the Petit Cambodge. She had "Fluctuat nec mergitur" tattooed as close as she could to the wound.
"This is my scar," says Manon Hautecoeur of her lion tattoo and the Paris motto "Fluctuat nec mergitur."
"When you are 'only' psychologically hurt you feel you are not a victim because you were not physically injured," said Hautecoeur who was close to the Petit Cambodge restaurant when it was sprayed with bullets in one of the drive-by attacks by jihadists that night.