Dutch teenager who was raped as a child allowed to end her life

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Noa Pothoven, 17, from the Netherlands, ended her life on Sunday by euthanasia.
Noa Pothoven, 17, ended her life on Sunday by euthanasia. Source: Noa Pothoven/ Facebook

A Dutch teenager who was raped as a child has been allowed to die following a years-long battle with depression and anorexia after she was raped as a young child.

Noa Pothoven, of Arnhem in the Netherlands, explained the choice to end her own life in a now-private Instagram post last week, saying the trauma she struggled to live with following a childhood rape had become insufferable.

She died in a hospital bed in her family home at the weekend.

"After years of fighting and battling, I am drained," she wrote.

"I have quit eating and drinking for a while now, and after many discussions and evaluations, it was decided to let me go because my suffering is unbearable."

The teen, who published an autobiography in 2018 called Winning or Learning detailing her struggles with PTSD, depression, anorexia and self-harm, also asked her followers to not try to talk her out of her decision, adding that it was "final" and "not impulsive".

"Love is letting go, in this case," she ended her post.

Noa's sister, Isa Pothoven, took to Instagram following the teen's assisted suicide on Sunday to share a moving tribute, remembering her loved one as a "sweet, beautiful and caring person."

"Sleep well sweetheart, we will miss you," she wrote in a now-deleted post.

"Close your eyes and think of the beautiful place where you will go. We will have to let you go."

According to local reports, Pothoven began to starve herself earlier this month and a decision was made by her parents and doctors not to force feed her at her request.

According to Gelderland, a local news outlet in Holland, Pothoven approached a euthanasia clinic in Levenseind without her parents’ knowledge last year. She was told she could not go through with the procedure.

She also sought electroshock therapy, which was refused.

Dutch law allows euthanasia as long as it is performed in accordance with the stringent terms of the controversial "Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act," which became law in 2002.

Noa Pothoven insisted her decision, years after being raped as a child, was not impulsive.
She insisted her decision, years after being raped as a child, was not impulsive. Source: MIND

Children as young as 12 can seek euthanasia in the Netherlands, although patients younger than 16 years old need parental consent to do so.

In 2017, the country saw a reported 6,585 deaths by legal euthanasia.

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and Ireland (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).

You can call Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

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