The parents of a gay man who killed himself after being the victim of homophobic bullying have shocked the Netherlands after publishing their son’s suicide note in a local newspaper.
Tim Ribberink, 20, ended his life on Thursday (1 November) and his goodbye message was printed along with his obituary and photo.
It read: ‘Dear Mum and Dad, All my life I have been ridiculed, abused, bullied and excluded. You guys are fantastic. I hope you’re not angry. Until we meet again, Tim.’
A vigil for Tim, who hoped to be a history teacher, was held in the Ribberinks’ village of Tilligte near Amsterdam last night (6 Novemeber).
In a statement read by local pastor Marinus van den Berg, parents Gerrit and Hetty Ribberink expressed their shock at their son’s tragic death.
They said until a few days ago they had no knowledge of him being harrassed, despite being aware of it during elementary school.
‘Tim was not weak or pathetic. He was strong,’ they said.
‘That is how we knew him and that is how he would want the world to remember him.’
They have now called for a police invesitgation into his death after bullying homophobic messages were posted online using Tim’s name in 2010 and 2011.
Tributes have been pouring in for Tim on social networking sites, with many calling for tougher anti-bullying laws in the country.
‘Suicide isn’t cowardly,’ posted @PaulaCyberFlip on Twitter.
‘What’s really cowardly is treating someone so terrible that they want to end their life. RIP’.
While @JCJillCox tweeted: ‘Some bruises are on the inside.. No one deserves to feel worthless.. 🙁 STOP BULLYING!!’
A Facebook tribute page for Tim now has more than 10,000 ‘likes’ and the hastag #timribberink has been trending on Twitter.