Tauranga photographer to document women's trauma in new book

A Tauranga photographer is raising money to create a book sharing the stories and images of Kiwi women who have suffered trauma.

The book, entitled Beautifully Scarred, will tell the tales of up to 40 women who have experienced things like domestic violence, serious illness and bad childhoods.

Charmaine Marinkovich is behind the project - and while making it her mission to share the stories of other women, she also has her own to tell.

"My relationship started to become unsafe in the environment that we were living in. There was lots of drugs and abuse."

She says it took a lot to leave, and when she did, she suffered severe anxiety.

Nineteen years later she's completely turned her life around, and is using her experience to connect with others.

"When you open up the conversation, and when you talk about what has happened, people don't feel alone and you don't feel isolated."

It was when Ms Marinkovich spoke to a dog bite victim that she decided to create a coffee table book.

"That just opened up the idea of how many other stories were out there of women and the experiences they've been through," she said.

She shared her idea on Facebook, and now has around 40 women on board. Ms Marinkovich wants to photograph each one, and publish their pictures and stories.

Tracy Manu is one of the women involved, and says she was in an abusive relationship 18 years ago.

"At first it was verbal and putting down and stuff, and then it got to the point where I was hit," she explained.

As a mother, she says she was scared to leave because she thought she wouldn't be able to cope. Ms Manu says it got so bad, she believed she didn't deserve a happy relationship.

"When I escaped I was pretty bruised and bashed and broken."

Ms Manu hopes sharing her story will give others the strength to make a change.

"To actually just read these stories and see that other people have gone through it, and gotten out of it, and created amazing lives will just be really inspiring I feel."

Ms Marinkovich says she's now trying to raise $85,000 on crowd-funding website PledgeMe to make the book a reality.

"I want people to be able to know that if they're going through an experience similar to one of these ladies in the book that they're not alone."

If you'd like to contribute towards the project, click here.