Rape survivor Leilani Kuter in drive to aid victims of violence
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Pretoria - Gender-based violence activist Leilani Kuter will mark the 29th anniversary of her gruesome rape by walking to raise funds to empower and better prepare other women victims.
On September 16 in 1992, Kuter, aged just 18 at the time. was raped, strangled and left for dead at a youth centre in Pretoria. Her rapist was someone she had let into her life, only known to her as Frankie.
Since that fateful day, Kuter has gone on to hold numerous walks through her non-profit company, Yellow for Survivors, to raise awareness about the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and in honour and remembrance of the survivors and victims of violence.
With her awareness walks, Kuter has managed to raise over R500 000 through her NPO to support rape crisis centres in South Africa.
Among the beneficiaries are SA Women Fight Back, the Tears Foundation, the Purple Foundation and the Bobbi Bear Foundation.
This year, Kuter will be walking for 29 hours from September 16 to raise funds on the platform BackaBuddy to provide women, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, with access to free self-defence classes.
Kuter will be aiming to walk from Ventersdorp to Little Falls in Roode-
poort to raise R290 000 for the women's classes.
“I’m passionate about self-defence because if I had some of these skills in 1992 I might have been able to protect myself. These courses won’t make you a hero, but they could save your life and give you a fighting chance.”
The self-defence classes cost R300 a person and will take place during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in November, held alongside Gary Lewis and Carien Davel from Never Tap Out.
Kuter said she would be joined on her walk by her friend Jaxy Olivier, two Guardian Angels from 1st For Women insurance company, and Gerhard Botes, who will be driving closely behind them to ensure their safety.
In addition to her awareness walks, Kuter has also completed more than 2 500km in dedication walks to honour women affected by GBV, such as Sibongile Zenzile, Olivia Jasriel and Reeva Steenkamp.
“For me, walking has been very healing. When you look back and see how far you’ve come, you are reminded the past is behind you and that you need to keep moving forward.
“When I started my walks, I had no expectations and no idea that this would change my life. Now everyone knows me as the lady with the yellow shirt,” Kuter said.