Actor and burlesque dancer Lana Te Brugge, known by her stage name Red Baroness, will take a stand against gender-based violence by dressing in a costume and walking up Adderley Street to the Cape Town High Court.
The walk, which will take place on Saturday March 27, is part of her campaign called Voice for the Voiceless, during which she aims to create awareness about gender-based violence as well as raise funds for two charities – Saartjie Baartman Home for Women and Children in Manenberg, and SA Women Fight Back.
Being a survivor of gender-based violence, Red Baroness, who is from Brackenfell, said her end goal was to get the South African government to cut red tape when it comes to justice for gender-based violence, and for the legislation for perpetrators to be “as straight as Adderley Street”.
“Let’s keep victims in their homes and get rid of the perpetrators, or find the root of the problem and the healing process may have a different outcome.”
Red Baroness said the idea to raise awareness about the issue sparked in 2017, after her son was sexually abused and molested by a family member and the woman was convicted and sentenced to a five-year suspended sentence.
“I would not keep quiet. I needed my son to know that there was justice. I needed him to know that this was not okay.”
She said the case took three years to be resolved.
“The victim has to relive the ordeal over and over, has to wait long periods of time for a court date, and sometimes there is not enough evidence, or the docket goes missing.
“The victim has to disrupt their entire lives to keep themselves safe, meanwhile the perpetrator moves on with their lives. And we need that to change.”
Red Baroness then landed a lead role in the movie, Trafficked Africa, and played the part of the Lady B, the owner of the prostitution and child smuggling rings.
She said even though playing the part was very emotional for her, she decided to use her platform as an actress and a public figure to speak out and help other woman find their voices.
“With my own wounds, I can identify with being a victim and trying to tell someone and no one listens, and when you speak up, no one believes you, or there is so much red tape. I decided to get up and do something, so I started the campaign.”
So Red Baroness decided to dress up and walk up one of Cape Town’s busiest roads in a costume to raise awareness.
“One of the reasons why I’m walking alone is because I want victims to realise that they can stand up by themselves and they can make it by themselves. Yes – all the help is there and you must use it, I want them to think ’if you can do it, I can do it’.
“I’m hoping that if they see me alone, they can say, ’Wow, that’s a strong woman, and I can be strong too’.”
This is Red Baroness’s first campaign under her life-coaching foundation, Building Bridges, founded in October last year.
She would like to walk in different parts of Cape Town once a month, to raise funds for different charities, in the hope of eventually getting the government to change legislation to make it easier for victims and survivors of gender-based violence to obtain justice.
“Hopefully in future, we can create a movement, and March 27 will be a #Voice for the Voiceless day, so that people will speak up against gender-based violence.”
At the time this article was published, Red Baroness had only raised R1750 out of her R200 000 target. Visit https://clickndonate.com/voice-for-the-voiceless-goal-r200-000/ to pledge support.
T-shirts are also available with the Voice for the Voiceless logo and proceeds will go towards charities around South Africa.
To partner with Voice for the Voiceless, or to enquire about donations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com