WATCH | How Kuter walked 729 kilometres to heal from trauma and empower rape survivors
Gender-based violence is devastating South Africa. And while perpetrators roam the streets without conviction, their victims are burdened with the experience long after it’s over.
Leilani Kuter was raped and left for dead when she was 18 years old. Twenty-seven years later, she’s still coming to terms with it. “Humans are not made to carry this pain with us,” Kuter says.
She recently completed a 729-kilometre walk over 27 days to empower herself and others.
“You cannot run from trauma, but you can run to prevent it,” Kuter says. On her journey, she wore a yellow shirt – the colour her attacker was wearing at the time of the assault.
It symbolised Kuter’s strength and her decision to take back her power. What was once a trigger no longer hurts her, and Kuter aims to help others feel that liberation.
“I want to be a voice for survivors and make a difference,” she says.
Kuter has since raised over R200 000 to purchase comfort packs for people when they report an assault, as well as sponsor counselling and rehabilitation sessions.
“As survivors, we need to unite,” she says. “We are not our trauma.” We all have the power within us to put our foot down, shed the pain that remains from our past, and move forward.