A 17-year-old girl who was raped as a young child has been legally euthanised at her home after her suffering became “unbearable.”
Noa Pothoven died on Sunday in an “end-of-life clinic” bed in her living room in the Netherlands after battling mental health problems for years.
The teenager from Arnhem was granted the right to end her own life after sexual assaults and rapes as a small girl led her to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anorexia.
For years she never revealed the horrific abuse because it left her feeling ashamed, the 17-year-old said.
She told the Gelderlander in December that she initially contacted the Life End Clinic in The Hague without telling her loved ones.
Noa spent her final hours saying goodbye to her heartbroken friends and family.
The day before she died, the Dutch teen posted a message on Instagram revealing her decision to die.
She wrote: “I deliberated for quite a while whether or not I should share this, but decided to do it anyway.
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.”
She explained that she made the difficult decision after “battling” mental anguish for most of her life.
Noa continued: “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 added that while she was “alive” she felt as if she was merely surviving, writing: “I breathe, but I no longer live.”
The Dutch teen asked her friends 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 said her mother Lisette had “always been there for me” – however according to Dutch law, her mum did have a say in her daughter’s decision.
Noa had penned an award winning autobiography called Winning or Learning which detailed her struggles with mental health including suicide attempts.
She said she wanted the book to help vulnerable children in Holland as the country does have specialised clinics where youngsters can be treated for psychological or physical trauma.
Dutch minister Lisa Westerveld, who first made contact with Noa in December after her newspaper interview, visited the 17-year-old before she was euthanised.
She said: “It was nice to see her again. It is also very unreal. Noa was incredibly strong and very open. I will never forget her. We will continue her struggle. “
According to Dutch law, euthanasia is legal as long as it is performed in accordance with the strict standards described in the ‘Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act’ which was passed in parliament in 2001 and became law in 2002.
Kids as young as 12 can be euthanised in the Netherlands but only after a doctor agrees that their suffering it unbearable with no clear resolution in sight.
Euthanasia is still illegal in the UK but is legal in parts of the US, Canada and Belgium.