[PICTURES] Rape survivor completes 729km journey to empower those affected by sexual assault

[PICTURES] Rape survivor completes 729km journey to empower those affected by sexual assault

Owner of Date Night SA, Leilani Kuter (45) from Roodepoort, Gauteng was brutally raped and left for dead when she was only 18 years old and living at the NG-church Youth Centre in Vermeulen Street, Pretoria. She unknowingly let a dangerous man in his late 20s by the name of “Frankie” into her room and the and what followed changed Leilani’s life forever.

“In a split second, he was on top of me. I tried to reason with him but he wouldn’t listen. He strangled me and then raped me so brutally I lost consciousness. He then took a belt from my cupboard and strangled me more in the hope that I die. I vaguely remember the kitchen knife in my top drawer and weighing up whether or not I should try and reach for it. When he was done, he left me lying naked, bloodied, with a belt wrapped around my neck and my life changed forever. When the police finally arrived they explained it was the sixth rape case reported in the area in just one week. The police were very nonchalant about the rape. Speaking to me, it was as if they were asking me how I liked my eggs done.” – says Leilani

Read Leilani’s FULL STORY

Twenty-seven years later, Leilani decided to break her silence and speak out about her ordeal to start a dialouge to empower other women, men and children and free them from the stigma that rape carries.

Starting on the 16th of September, wearing yellow, the colour her attacker wore, Leilani started a 27-day journey, walking 27km a day to take a stand against sexual assault and gender-based violence in South Africa. 

Owner of Date Night SA, Leilani Kuter.

Taking her last step at the Ruimsig parkun in Roodepoort on the 12th of October, completing a total distance of 729km, Leilani says the experience taught her a lot about herself and the kindness of others. 

“Taking on this challenge was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it was the best decision I could have made. My ankles are very sore, but I feel fantastic finally reaching the finish line. I learned so much about myself on this journey, I am tougher than I think and that I need to nurture my fighting spirit.” – says Leilani 

Leilani Kuter on Day 27 at Taken at Ruimsig parkun.

The challenge which covered 4 provinces and took over 3645 hours to complete was supported by more than 300 individuals (some rape survivors), of all ages.

One of the stand out moments came on Day 22 in Nelspruit. The prefects from Hoërskool Bergvlam and Lowveld High School joined the walk and the entire town came out in support. “I cried tears of joy. It was so emotional. The support was incredible” says Leilani 

Leilani at Highschool Bergvlam in Nelspruit

“Throughout this journey, I  never could have expected the amount of support I received. I was so incredibly fortunate to be joined by so many compassionate individuals who supported me every step of the way, shared their stories and this life changing experience with me. I am so happy that I could give others hope and create a safe space for people to reach out and confront this ‘taboo’ topic.” – says Leilani

Leilani was also fortunate to meet and walk with Bruce Fordyce, best known for having won the South African Comrades Marathon a record nine times. Lending his support, he told Leilani not to give up and that she must finish what she started.

Leilani and Bruce Fordyce.

Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

With her campaign launched on donation-based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, on the 14th of August, Leilani raised a total of R 237 110.00 with contributions from 109 donors. 

Funds raised will be used to purchase emergency comfort packs to be given to young girls when they report sexual assault and go through the process of telling their stories. Additional funds will be used to help as many women as possible who are in need of rehabilitation and counseling.

“Not one morning did I wake up and think I can’t do this anymore. I knew what I was doing was important and that I was making a meaningful difference. I hope the public will continue to support my crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy so we can touch as many lives as possible” – says Leilani

What is next for Leilani?

A documentary called Born To an Audience about her life story and the 729km challenge is currently in production. A book about this entire journey will also follow in due course. 

A life-long friendship formed. Camera man, Gerhard Botes (66) joined Leilani every day of the journey, recording every special moment for an upcoming documentary, where Leilani will share her life story, called ‘Born To an Audience’

Support this cause on BackaBuddy by making a donation:

https://www.backabuddy.co.za/leilani-kuter

 

Alternatively, make use of this Snapscan code to donate.

*Funds raised for the comfort kits and counseling sessions will go directly to the supplier. 

Memorable Moments from the 729km Challenge

Leilani walking in the rain. She said: She has learned a lot about commitment. When you’ve committed to something, you must see it through. She walked in the rain because she was committed to finishing strong.
Leilani on Day 6 at the Leeuwenhof Country Lodge
A first for Leilani. Pushing a stroller in Buffelspoort on Day 18 with the Porky’s People team
This young lady was so touched by Leilani’s story and thanked her for speaking out.
Expats from Abu Dhabi supported Leilani. Leilani’s best friend, Carin Bester arranged the small get together. They have walked 12km in solidarity for Leilani.
Quick selfie at the halfway mark, Leilani with Zane Groenewald, Theresa Pienaar and Nadine Pienaar from Porky’s People.
Leilani handing out bibles in Middelburg.
Leilani and Zane Groenewald from BackaBuddy on Day 18 in Buffelspoort.
Faith Mangope from eNCA said Leilani must become an ambassador for South Africa.

Follow Leilani’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/LeilaniDD/

Create your own crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy:

BackaBuddy has supported more than 10 000+ individuals and charities in setting up crowdfunding campaigns for medical fees, tuition and various other causes in South Africa. Learn More.

To sign up complete this form: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/individual/register or email info@backabuddy.co.za

Follow BackaBuddy on Facebook:

 https://www.facebook.com/BackabuddySA/

 

Zane Groenewald

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