Dilemma about working in same department with supervisor who sexually harassed me during PhD!


Hi guys, it's been a while since I was last on this platform. Been busy finishing and earning my PhD. Yes I finally finished after years of toil hard work and sadly mental torture from my predatory supervisor. I am happy to say he didn't have his way with me but the emotional abuse ran deep.

So how did it end: I eventually got some courage and confided in my family members. I confronted him and also later reported him to my most senior supervisor, a female. She advised me to be firm but unfortunately no penalty or punishment was metted to the man. She didn't raise the case to authorities which perhaps protected me but said she will talk to him and caution him. I felt free and have been healing since.I stayed far from him even though he never apologized for the way he bullied me I have forgiven him. I realised I lacked self esteem and confidence which led me to endure Two torturous years of his abuse.

My current dilemma is if I should remain in the same department with him. I was offered a lecturing position in the department to start next year. I am grateful for the offer because there are no jobs in
my country and if I miss this job it would be hard to get another. I wish I didn't have to keep seeing him and working with him but I don't think it's wise to leave a good job because of someone. If anyone should leave, it should be him. I am a Dr. now and no longer a student he could bully. I plan to keep staying far from him and only interact with him if absolutely necessary. I observed he has been respecting himself and is now cordial with me as though nothing ever happened. I just feel like I will be living a lie if I join the department and have to work close to him again - a sexual predator and pretend like he is normal. Pls advise.


Haven't seen you in a while. I remember you. Congratulations on getting your phd! If you have been offered a job, it would be a good idea to accept the offer and start to build your career. Do you have to work closely with your ex-supervisor again? You could join the workers' Union at your institution; some people refuse to pay the monthly subscription thinking they would never get in trouble or never need to use the Union; the monthly subscription is worth paying for as they will definitely help you if he tries to do anything again. Keep a record of everything as they cannot act for you without evidence.

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Sorry for the delay as I had to look through your old posts and I suggest other people to do so as well.

I think you should take the job and worry about him later. Getting a lecturer is hard enough, so don't let him harm you any more by jeopardising your career. Regardless of anything else, accept the job.

On what to do with your former supervisor, I think you should get something in writing so if he ever does anything again it will easier for his next victim to complain. It is sad I am saying this but it usually takes multiple allegations to stop someone and you shouldn't let this be brushed under the carpet. You can pursue it further if you want or help the next victim.

I also don't know how big your department is but avoiding him in the long term might be awkward. You could talk with a counsellor about him and how to eventually normalise your relationship with your former supervisor. I am not saying be friends with him or forgive him but learn be cordial back. As there are plenty lecturers in my university that do not get a long and avoid working together. You kinda work out who doesn't like who and plan around it, I don't know even know why half dislodge each other. There are literally two technicians who refuse to speak with each other and eat lunch at separate times to avoid each other at all costs. Academia is full of old grudges, grievances and quarrels, so you won't standout however most of them can be friendly when absolutely necessary.