27 years later, rape survivor marks the crime against her by walking 27km everyday for 27 days

2019-08-04 12:03
Leilani Kuiter and Mike Bolhuise(SUPPLIED)

Leilani Kuiter and Mike Bolhuise(SUPPLIED)

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Twenty-seven years ago on September 16, 1992, 45-year-old Leilani Kuter's life changed forever when she was brutally raped and left for dead. 

For the next ten years, Kuter struggled with the trauma and struggled to speak out about the day she almost died. She said, when she eventually opened up, things changed for the better. 

To mark the incident, Kuter will be walking 27km for 27 days. Her first walk starts in Pretoria, where she will be joined by Mike Bolhuis, the host of the popular television show, Bolhuis

Kuter said she plans to walk through different provinces, where she hopes to reach out to victims of sexual crimes. 

She is hoping to raise R270 000 for rape crisis centres and awareness campaigns.

"The idea is to raise funds for rape centres and people in need of counselling. I want to be a voice for the vulnerable. 

"Unfortunately, not a lot of people talk about it [rape], but hopefully, when they hear me talking to them and encouraging that they seek help, maybe they can also want to change their lives as I did," an emotional Kuter said.

Most importantly, the rape survivor is also hoping to win over about 100 companies to donate to her cause. She hopes this might create awareness and maybe motivate employees at the companies who are victims to speak out.  

"I think a lot of companies have staff who also go through rape and abuse trauma, but don't know how to talk about and deal with it and influencing their work."

Kuter said, after she was raped, she lost trust in South Africa's police services because of the attitude she got from the officer who dealt with her. She, however, believes that, more than two decades later, the police have improved the way they deal with rape victims. 

"On that day the police guy just said, 'well, this is the sixth [rape victim] one this week'. For many years, I have been very negative towards the police, but I think now [27 years later] they are trying to make a difference," she said. 

Kuter will finish her final 27km walk on October 12, when she will join the masses at the Ruimsig Parkrun. 

"My message to victims is for them not to let rapist control their lives because such can ruin one's life. Speaking out changed my life. I am a much happier person now." 

Read more on:    crime  |  rape
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