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Disturbing experience

Quote From tru:
Hi, waitinggame.

Agree with all the others here. A final year student/ECR is a nobody. No one in academia would be stupid enough to protect a nobody who has done something so wrong.

If you have student union, totally speak to them. And your postgrad coordinator after that. Go get the support you need to get rid of this pervert.

Ok thank you. I am new to academia and I really don’t understand how everything works... I guess he took advantage of that also. I have reached out for help at the university now ...

Disturbing experience

Quote From directdrive:
This x2. This is very serious and needs to be dealt with properly. Final-year PhD students and ECRs are frankly nobodies in terms of the hierarchy, the university is not going to cover for him in the event a report is filed.

OP, hope you are finding the support you need, and I hope this guy gets kicked out.

Ok that makes me feel slightly more confident because he told me he had a lot of power and is friends with the head of the graduate school. He said nobody would believe he did it and he said this because I had injuries and I suppose he didn’t want me to tell anyone anything when they saw me that way.
I’m trying to build the courage to report it - I’m just feeling so paralysed by fear about it

Disturbing experience

Really? It’s confidential? @cat123

Disturbing experience

Quote From Cat123:
This is a very serious matter. I advise speaking to your students union, they will have student advisors who will inform you of what you can do, these people are trained to know of university processes in dealing with these matters. I speak as someone who spent many years working in professional services in universities before starting a Ph.D.
I would advise against warning other students as has been suggested, this will not help matters and could be deemed inappropriate by the University. The University should deal with this matter promptly and appropriately. Even if no action is taken in your case a complaint against this individual could stop them doing this again as once a staff member starts to get multiple complaints against them the University is more likely to take notice and this person will likely know that.
This culture of silence surrounding bullying and harassment in academia needs to end.

Thank you for your response. I will think about going to the student union. I’m so scared of him and I’m terrified I will be seen as a trouble maker when I’ve only just started my course. This whole phd just seems like a terrible mistake now. Maybe I should just leave.

Disturbing experience

Quote From pd1598:
That sounds terrible. By his actions that sounds like something he has done before. You say he's a final year student and just a lecturer? The council thing is probably meaningless CV padding. That means he is really a noob in academic terms. Report him, that is at least a sexual assault and shouldn't be tolerated.

Edit - some folk saying you should quietly warn others. That is precisely how such predatory behaviour continues. These things ARE taken seriously in academia these days.

I will think about reporting him but if I do I’m not sure who to tell. Do phd students have personal tutors as I don’t want to tell my supervisors?

Disturbing experience

Quote From rewt:
I cannot speak from personal experience but what you experienced is not normal. I think the vast majority of academia would agree what he did was wrong. He is a piece of work but you shouldn't expect everyone to be like him.

The only thing I would possibly suggest as an option is quietly tell other PhD students. In the first few months of my PhD I got told about several post-doc and lecturer "creeps" to avoid one-on-one. Nothing was ever said about what happened other than they were creeps to avoid. It is probably the most low-committal way to warn other people.

I haven’t gone to any of the phd events at my university because I just don’t want to be around anyone right now including him. But I definitely want others to steer clear of him so I will try to do as you suggest. I didn’t put all the details into my post but he was aggressive and violent and said he was going to ‘turn me straight’ (I’m a gay female). I’m just wondering at this point if it really matters to ‘network’ during a phd ? Will it affect me badly if I don’t?

Disturbing experience

Quote From abababa:
I tried to write a reply to advise, but I realised I cannot, realistically, do that in a useful or informed way in terms of what to do, so I just want to reassure you this is not normal behaviour on his part and not acceptable at anywhere I've worked.

This is also not normal across academia, and not something you should expect, or be afraid is, the norm. This person sounds like a horrible human being, and perhaps this is a reminder academic qualification does not imply he is any better than any other sleazy guy at a bar.

Ok thank you. I appreciate your response. It’s just so terrifying when someone has more authority than you and they do something like this. I just feel scared because I will have to see him again at phd events at the uni.

Thanks for listening- just wanted to tell someone else in academia as I can’t tell anyone at university

Disturbing experience

Hi everyone
I just started my phd (uk) and to cut a long story short I met a guy at the welcome day who wanted to network as he said we had some similarities with our project areas. He said we should go for a drink in the pub round the corner and thinking it was phd related I agreed. Instead, while there he forced me to kiss him and held me against a wall and wouldn’t let me go.
He’s in his last year, already a lecturer and is on the phd council and he said nobody would believe me if I complained.
The uni is really pushing networking for us first years but if this is what it involves I’m scared to network with men. I don’t know what I’m asking exactly but I’m just scared... :(

Feeling stupid

I am starting my phd next month but I just feel so stupid all the time. I feel like my supervisor who I admire so much regrets choosing me to work with and I’m sure she would love to work with someone else much more. In fact I’m sure if someone else comes along she would ditch me for them which would make me so sad.
I feel like I always say the wrong things and do the wrong things and that everyone hates me and I feel invisible. I never get chosen for anything like scholarships because I’m so stupid I guess.
I wish I never agreed to this phd.

Struggled to get through Bachelor's, should I even consider a Master's

I got a third class degree and got a distinction in my masters ... if you are willing to work hard nothing is impossible. My career prospects definitely improved after.
And I’m starting a phd this year. Education is everything and if you want to give it a go, why not.
Twenty years ago when I did my first degree there was much less support for struggling students. Today there are options. Check out your university’s library and academic skills department for extra support in improving your approach, for instance. Or ask the academic liaison librarians for help with referencing and research.
I think you should go for it!

How to make PhD Institution Choice

Quote From eng77:
Hi. Choose the funded PhD. Getting accepted without a fund is nothing. If you struggle financially, you will not feel the excitement of the project nor the brilliance of the supervisor. Even funded PhD students do not have a great financial status during PhD. So what about self funded? Be realistic and go for the funded one.

Getting accepted without funding is nothing?!? All my supervisors started their phds with no funding and then got it after. The fact op got funding elsewhere shows their project is fundable and will likely be offered the money if they go to the uni they love for a year and make a new application. Don’t spread nonsense please. Do what you feel op.


Quote From Mademoisella:
Oh gosh, that’s very organised of you, waitinggame :). Well done!

Today I was invited to take part in an online workshop for the understanding, handling and sharing of cancer data in my country by my supervisor. Having small things to focus on does help to ease the anxious thoughts a little.

Good luck with your PhD studies and thank you for taking your time to respond :).

Haha! Thank you so much. And yes it really does work but I suppose if you want to get to the root of the problem, a university counsellor might help? Good luck with the workshop! Xxx


Quote From Mademoisella:
Thank you for you response, eng77.

I really hope my original message doesn’t come across as ungrateful or complaining. I am so happy for this opportunity.
At the same time, I just don’t feel good enough and wondered really if anyone else had felt this way and went on to have a great experience, or if these thoughts continued to plague throughout.

I’m not afraid of hard work though, so you’re right - hopefully digging in at 100% will help me shift some anxiety. You can’t feel anxious if you don’t have time for such thoughts.


Take care,


Yes! I am starting research now even though I start in September so that I don’t have time for anxious thoughts! I’m too busy haha

have your research illustrated by a science illustrator!

I wish I was doing science! This sounds so cool!

should I withdraw?

Quote From student2021:
Thanks so much for these supportive replies. It has really helped me to reflect over recent days. I feel okay about leaving the PhD behind now, and will talk to my supervisor about the option of PhD by publication - I hadn't even realised that was an option. This is all hugely appreciated.

Awesome! Let us know how it goes and well done for your achievements. I’m starting my phd in September and I hope I can do what you achieved because it’s amazing in itself. Not only the book but the fact that you are taking care of your mental health by walking away when necessary. I don’t want to hurt myself over a qualification