Women need to know their rights when a male officer pulls them off the road. The threat of violation by an officer of the law can clearly be seen in the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (IOID) 2017/18 annual report which recorded 105 incidents of sexual assault by an officer and nine incidents of sexual assault by an officer while in police custody.
There are several factors to be considered when a woman has to be searched or arrested.
1. A female officer has to do the body search
2. If there is no female officer present, that does not warrant the male officer the right to proceed with a search.
In light of the vulnerability of women and children in all spheres of South African society as well as at the hands of authorities that should be providing protection, here is what women traveling on national roads should remember in terms of their rights:
The absence of a female officer of the law does not mean that you may be let go from the scene. A female officer must instead be called to the site.
If safety is compromised, the female motorist can remain in the vehicle until a female officer arrives.
An officer of the law is always expected to keep an appointment card on their person as a form of verification while on duty. If an officer evades you, take down their vehicle registration number.
Always be aware of your surroundings and try to stay away from dark and deserted areas at night. If you plan to travel long distances, check that your tracker is in working order and that you activate GPS location on your cellular devices.