Rape survivor in 448km walk to crowdfund for fellow GBV victims
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Johannesburg - A woman who was raped as an 18-year-old more than 28 years ago will take part in a 448km walk against systemic violence in the form of gender-based violence.
Leilani Kuter, now 46, was raped, strangled and left for dead at a youth centre in Pretoria when she was just 18. Her rapist, who was someone she had let into her life, was a man known as Frankie who had come into her life to change it forever.
She said the man pounced on her, getting on top of her and strangled her, before raping her brutally. She said the strangled her with a belt as he tried to kill her and left her for dead, naked in a pool of blood.
On the 28th tragic anniversary of her rape ordeal, Kuter, who is now based in Roodepoort, will be embarking on a 16 day 28km walk daily in a bid to spread the message of ending gender-based violence.
Through her NGO YellowForSurvivors, she has also started a BackaBuddy campaign to highlight her iniatitive.
Yellow was the colour of the T-shirt her rapist wore during her rape ordeal 28 years ago.
“Sharing my story was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it taught me so much about the person I am and the woman I want to be.
“I feel like the reason I didn’t die on September 16, 1992, is to free others like myself, who have experienced unforgettable trauma and show them that they can overcome and regain control of their lives.
“Every step of my 2020 challenge will be taken in defiance of systemic violence against women, men and children in celebration of our collective survival spirit. I hope the public will get behind me and support my BackaBuddy campaign,” – said Kuter.
Her 448km journey will start on September 1 and end on 16 days later. She aims to raise R280 000 towards the anti-GBV initiative.
Last September, she did a similar initiative, covering 729km in 27 days. She raised R250 000.
She said she would be wearing yellow, the colour her attacker wore during her rape ordeal.
Kuter has already raised R147 000 from this year’s R280 000 target. She aims to empower rape survivors with the donations from the public.
“Walking has become a big part of my healing process and I’ve learned, as I get older, that you can’t run away from your past.
“You need to confront it head-on in order to move on. For this reason, I am going back to the places where I’ve shared both good and bad memories, in hopes to inspire others to do the same,” said Leilani.
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