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'Clean Slate Diaries' recognizes, honors courage of rape and assault survivors

— Think "pink," and what comes to mind? Breast cancer awareness?

How about yellow? Bone cancer, or endometriosis. Or suicide. Or soldier support.

Red? AIDS. Puzzle pieces? Autism.

But for survivors of rape, sexual assault and incest, there is no awareness campaign of any hue.

"I realized there are no medals given or color-coded products sold to recognize the intense courage and fierce determination required to overcome the trauma that remains from these crimes," says Renee DeVesty, CNY outreach director for Camp Good Days & Special Times. "So I decided to produce an event that would bring light and healing to their path."

'The Clean Slate Diaries,' will recognize and honor victims of rape, incest and domestic violence through live music, art, dance and the spoken word from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday April 23 at the May Memorial Unitarian Church, 3800 E. Genesee St. in DeWitt.

Maren Guse, 24, an information management graduate student at SU, has worked with DeVesty and participating survivors to create a video of survivor stories for the event. An exhibit of artwork created by survivors will be unveiled that night, too.

While there are resources and events for survivors in Syracuse, The Clean Slate Diaries is unique in its approach of specifically honoring survivors in the community, DeVesty says.

The gathering will bring together survivors and supporters in a big, vocal way to draw attention to a particularly gruesome topic. It's an issue that most people are uncomfortable talking about, so they don't -- and that's just the point.

"Most rape, incest, domestic and intimate partner abuse and violence takes place because of the silencing effect it has on victims," DeVesty says.

End the silence, and stop the cycle of abuse, she adds.

"If we can improve how we handle and treat an individual who actually finds the courage to come forward and speak, it can be empowering for all victims, aid in their healing process and increase the number of cases that are actually reported - stopping the incidence of the crimes.

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