UPDATE: ‘My Suffering is Unbearable’: Teenager Traumatized by Rape Takes Her Life in Netherlands

UPDATE: ‘My Suffering is Unbearable’: Teenager Traumatized by Rape Takes Her Life in Netherlands June 4, 2019

See update below, which indicates her death was not by legal euthanasia, but by suicide.


Noa Pothoven, 17, has been legally euthanized in the Netherlands, saying the pain she was dealing with after a childhood rape was “insufferable.”

Noa, from Arnhem, said in a social media post a day before her death last Sunday that she “breaths but no longer lives.”

Noa wrote an autobiography called Winning or Learning, which details her battles with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anorexia after being molested and raped as a young child.

“I deliberated for quite a while whether or not I should share this, but decided to do it anyway,” she wrote. “Maybe this comes as a surprise to some, given my posts about hospitalisation, but my plan has been there for a long time and is not impulsive.

“I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die. After years of battling and fighting, I am drained. 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.”

Noa asked her friends and followers on Instagram to “not convince me that this is not good, this is my decision and it is final.”

“Love is letting go, in this case,” she added.

Children as young as 12 can choose to be euthanized in the Netherlands.

UPDATE: Recent reports indicate that stories about her being euthanized are not accurate and that, in fact, her death was a suicide.


Major outlets such as the UK’s Independent and the Daily Beast in the US reported that 17-year-old Noa Pothoven from the Dutch city of Arnhem had perished from euthanasia, which is legal in the Netherlands under certain circumstances.

Pothoven, however, was not euthanized as the stories claimed.

Euthanasia can be performed in the Netherlands one of two ways: a doctor can give the patient life-ending drugs to administer themselves, or a doctor can administer the drugs.

Both the teen’s Instagram account and Dutch media said she used her rights to stop eating and drinking and refuse medical treatment with the understanding of her parents and doctors that they would not try to force feed her.

…The Netherlands’ current euthanasia law has been in effect since 2002. It allows terminally ill patients over the age of 12 to end their lives after, amongst other stipulations, giving their consent and consultations with at least two doctors.

However, as a suicide, Pothoven’s death is not related to this law.

This is beyond heartbreaking. Words fail. Lord have mercy.

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