Reports: Dutch Girl Chose Suicide, Not Euthanized

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Noa Pothoven

Reports on Wednesday corrected a widespread story that a 17-year-old Dutch girl who died at her home Sunday had been euthanized, noting that she committed suicide.

Noa Pothoven of Arnhem had requested to be put to death because the suffering of having been molested and raped as a child was “unbearable,” but her request was denied.

The girl recounted the episode in an interview with the regional Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander in December of 2018, in which she explained that state authorities had directed her toward therapeutic treatments and her request for euthanasia was postponed until her 21st birthday.

Noa had battled for years with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anorexia after being molested and raped as a young girl, a topic she dealt with at length in a memoir titled Winning or Learning.

As a result of the three sexual assaults, two molestations at the ages of 11 and 12, and rape by two men when she was 14, Noa said she relived the pain every day, and “to this day my body still feels dirty,” she said.

“My house has been broken into, my body, that can never be undone,” she said.

Noa committed suicide by refusing to eat or drink, reportedly with the knowledge and complicity of her family.

The girl announced her decision to die on social media, telling her followers that her decision was not “impulsive” and requesting that no one try to persuade her not to go through with her plan.

The day before her death, Noa posted: “I breathe but I no longer live.”

“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 hospitalization, but my plan has been there for a long time and is not impulsive.

Her death by starvation explains the statement that she only had an approximate idea of when she would actually die.

“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,” she said.

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