Daniel Prins – South Africa

Daniel Prins – South Africa

Date: July 1, 2015
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I am married to Carol Prins, and we live in Mosselbay in the Western Cape. I am a Lieutenant with SAPS Mosselbay. I also work with Carol to run the Fairview Ministries which is a church ministry in the community.

We will both remember our first encounter with Gender Links; it was a three day workshop; I was representing SAPS. As a member of SAPS, attending the Gender Training with GL was very essential, because as a policeman it is important for me to be very sensitive when it comes to gender issues. Our encounter with GL was very pleasant the facilitator Ntombi was welcoming and very open. This made it easy for me to also be open to learning about what gender mainstreaming was about. My wife and I are equal partners in everything that we do; the one thing that I learned was that the issue of gender roles was something that has never been an issue for us in our relationship at home and also in our workplaces.

There are a few key things that we have learned; the main component was the issue of gender roles. We are both Afrikaans speaking individuals, and we were not raised in households that reinforced gender stereotypes and roles. But somewhere along the line one ends up encountering people who do not see gender roles the same way that you may see them.

We both know that beating up women is unacceptable and this should not be happening at all, but what we realised after reflecting at home post the workshop, is that these very issues of GBV, gender roles and stereotypes that were discussed at the workshop were actually very much a part of our community but nobody wanted to discuss these issues openly.

As Church Ministers who run their own ministry discussing issues of GBV within the church is something that we had never thought about before simply because the church does not always create a space or a platform where these issues can be discussed freely, and we realised that women can also abuse men as much as men abuse women. The work that we do within the community shows the latter more dominantly. However we both realised that we needed to also broaden the way that we thought about gender issues.

The word “gender” sometimes has negative connotations, especially within SAPS, as very often when one hears the word gender people tend to think it only refers to women and only helping women. This is not the case at all. The gender training workshop helped me to understand this very clearly. The word gender refers to the way in which a person behaves. That was good for me as I got an idea of what gender is all about and that was an “eye-opening” experience for me.

Before we attended the GL workshop both of us knew about GBV, especially in my capacity as a policeman; seeing women who have been assaulted and raped is very concerning. But the workshop increased my sensitivity to gender issues. It has also meant that I make sure that as a member of SAPS I take it upon myself to educate other colleagues about gender mainstreaming and also encouraging my seniors to start making sure that gender issues are taken very seriously within SAPS Mosselbay.

We also got the opportunity to learn and understand the gender dynamics in some of the disadvantaged communities that we work with through our Ministry. Before we attended the workshop, we both knew that GBV was high in these communities, but learning more about the SADC Protocol and the different targets brought the issue closer to us. Especially when we learned why it was important to ensure that women were economically empowered.

On a personal front, at home we both realise that we have vital roles to play in terms of roles and that these roles are not gender specific. As a father I can also cook and clean the house, that does not necessarily have to be the primary role that my wife should be performing. My wife and I work together as a team and we respect each other’s roles even more now than before and that is because of what we learned at the workshop.



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