I have read this letter and I understand it in a way that chills me to the marrow of my bones.
Bill Zeller’s last wish was to have his final words shared with as many people as possible, and as survivors of sexual abuse, we believe this wish must be fulfilled.
People everywhere need to understand the extent to which sexual abuse harms an individual. They need to understand how the lack of societal recognition about the heinous nature of this crime causes survivors to retreat from society and human contact in a way that makes the victim appear to be the source of dysfunction. They need to understand how the fear of lack of support from family, friends, and trained professionals in the aftermath of disclosure drives survivors away and buries them in inescapable darkness. People need to understand that survivors of sexual abuse live with the effects throughout every minute of every day of their lives and there is no miracle or epiphany that will make what happened instantly “go away”.
Bill Zeller did what survivors of sexual abuse do every day: keep a secret.
We hope that sharing this secret in the wake of his death will create a powerful ripple of awareness in the world about the darkness that can exist for survivors of sexual abuse.
Read the letter: The Agonizing Last Words of Programmer Bill Zeller
Always remember that you may have been victimized by sexual violence, but by searching for help you have started your healing.