Rape survivor takes long walk to raise awareness

JOHANNESBURG - South African Charlene Lau has embarked on a 1400-kilometre journey for rape.

She started walking from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Sunday morning, and hopes to raise awareness about sexual violence along the way.

Lau is not an athlete but hopes to complete her journey by December.

Lau was raped by her father as a child, gang raped at 14 and then again at 26, and now she wants to engage communities and raise awareness about sexual violence along the way. 

She also hopes this will assist her own healing process.

“I really wanted to encourage other survivors to own their healing process, and to take back their power, to take back their lives. I also wanted to speak to families in SA and to encourage them to start having this conversation in their families," said Lau.

Women’s rights organisation, People Opposing Women Abuse, hailed her resilience and bravery

"In our country a woman is raped every 26 seconds.... Charlene is saying to survivors out there let&39;s not let the rape determine who we are but let&39;s do something to heal ourselves," said Powa&39;s Nhlanhla Mokoena.

But for those closest to Lau, the primary concern is her safety.

"As a husband you feel reservation, you feel a bit of fear but at the end of the day I support her a 100 percent," said her husband Collin Lau.

Lau hopes that her journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town will inspire rape survivors to overcome the challenges in their life journey and find personal healing one step at a time.