March 29, 2023 10.26 am This story is over 15 months old

Female food delivery driver’s fears after months of abuse and heckling

She has endured ‘constant sexual harassment’

A 20-year-old female delivery driver has spoken out about having to endure constant sexual harassment, verbal abuse and heckling by groups of men for several months.

Student Seren Protheroe works part-time as a delivery driver in Lincoln’s Ermine for two shifts a week during the evenings. She worked for the same firm from August 2022 in Bourne, but never had any problems until she started working in Lincoln in October last year.

Since posting about the issue on social media Seren has received a lot of support and she plans to report the incidents to police in the near future, but is worried she doesn’t have enough evidence.

Seren said around Carholme Road, West Parade, Outer Circle Road, and Long Lays Road are the “worst” areas for these incidents happening.

She recalled examples of what she’s experienced to The Lincolnite.

“A group of young men saw me walking back to my car after a delivery. After getting in my car I started driving slowly and they came up to the car and started knocking on my windows, and tried opening my car door, telling me ‘you better have more pizza in there for us’.

When walking across the road to a customer’s house a group of teenage boys started shouting at me saying ‘look at that a**e, I’d s**g her a**e’. When the customer opened the door the teenagers continued to heckle, shouting that it was their food and calling me a ‘silly bi**h’. The customer didn’t say anything but shut the door and I walked quickly back to my car head down.

I was walking up to a customer’s house. As she opened the door a group of young lads starting shouting ‘Oi’ at me continually and saying to give them the food. As I handed the food over they didn’t leave and continued to heckle, and stood blocking my way on the customer’s pathway. The customer asked that I step inside her hallway and wait for them to leave, which I accepted. The customer then walked me back to my car after a few minutes.”

Seren says sometimes there can be two weeks when she doesn’t experience an incident, when she’ll start to feel more confident about her job, and then the next week it will happen two or three times.

She said:

“As these are always groups, it’s very intimidating. You feel very vulnerable for the rest of the evening after an incident.”

Seren took to social media to highlight her experiences and said “as a younger female, a lot of the insults thrown at me tend to be sexual”.

“The heckling is consistently from young male teenagers, or young men in groups of two or six. Because of this I now carry my car keys in my hands at all times, lock my doors immediately and carry my phone with me at all times.

“I need my job to pay my rent and afford to feed myself, but shouting inappropriate and vile things at me is making me consider leaving my job…I would really like a week of not crying about this either in my car, or in my manager’s office.

“I want to stress that I get no abuse from any customers and am extremely appreciative of the customers who go out of their way to ensure my safety when they see this happening.

“After talking to my male co-workers, none of them receive this same treatment as I do by strangers on the streets of Lincoln. Think before you say or act. It may not mean a big deal to you, but it definitely does to me and has left me feeling unsafe in my own city.”

Seren has thanked people who have offered her support and advice since she posted in a local social media group.

She also wants to raise awareness of police’s StreetSafe initiative and about the Hollie Guard Personal Safety App.

Seren added: “The support after posting about it has been brilliant. I didn’t feel like I was the only one, and a lot of young women in Lincoln are experiencing a lot of the same thing at the minute.

“I was given advice to get a dashcam…it was really nice to know that I had a lot of people on my side.

“I had one comment saying posting about it on Facebook wouldn’t make a difference and I want people to know that is wrong. From speaking out, I’ve got so much advice and support.”

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