17-Year-Old Teen Who Was Sexually Assaulted Decided To End Her Own Life, Igniting Debate Over Legal Suicide

Noa Pothoven recently published a book that was gaining great success, she loved animals, and many people loved her. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to make her life worth living.

Raped as a young child, Noa struggled deeply with her emotions and considered her life “unbearable.” She suffered in ways most of us could never understand from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anorexia.

She passed away on June 9 in a hospital bed set up in her family’s living room. In her autobiography, she wrote that she had nothing left to live for.

Due to severe mental health issues, she had not consumed anything to eat or drink in a long time.

Reports first came out that doctors assisted in her suicide, inciting a serious Internet debate regarding legal suicide.

Her family, the Levenseinde clinic, the Royal Dutch Medical Association, and the Dutch health minister have all debunked this sensationalized media report, saying the young woman died of starvation.

According to a spokesperson for a member of the Dutch parliament, the death of Pothoven occurred as a result of her refusal to eat anything.

At only 16 years old, Pothoven had gone to the Levenseinde, or “end-of-life,” clinic in The Hague to request euthanasia. According to an interview conducted last year with the Gelderlander, a local newspaper, her request was denied.

While euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, it is only performed under the strict rules of the Termination of Life Request and Assistance Act and requires approval from a doctor.

Patient suffering must be deemed unbearable and likely to persist.

Prior to her death, Pothoven had published an autobiography titled “Winning or Learning.” It went into great detail about her struggles with mental illness associated with being molested as a child.

The day before she passed away, Pothoven, who was open about her struggles on social media, shared a bleak message with her followers regarding her decision to end her own life.

“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.”

She added: “I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die.”

She went on to explain that she had been fighting these feelings for years and was completely “drained.” Furthermore, she never truly felt alive, but instead was simply “surviving”.

“I have not really been alive for so long, I am surviving, and not even that. I am still breathing but I am no longer alive.”

“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 wrote.

@winnenofleren

She told her online followers not to encourage her to change her mind, as her mind was already made up.

Her final hours were spent surrounded by loved ones who were naturally heartbroken beyond words. “Love is letting go, in this case,” Pothoven tragically penned.

So much more than a depressed person who ended her own life, Noa Pothoven lived a life to be proud of.

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. 10 FACTS ABOUT ME 1. Ik ben al 7 jaar vegetariër. 2. Ik heb een enorme passie voor dieren (in het speciaal voor cavia's). 3. Ik hou van de 'kleur' zwart. 4. Ik ben lichtelijk verslaafd aan Aliexpress. 5. Ik ben iets minder dan drie jaar bezig geweest met "Winnen of Leren". 6. Ik hou heel erg van de muziek van Genesis. 7. De titel "Winnen of Leren" komt van een sociotherapeut uit de kliniek, dit is zijn uitspraak. In het boek staat hier meer over uitgelegd. 8. Deze foto is gemaakt op de zorgboerderij waar ik werk. 9. We zijn druk bezig met het uitgeven van mijn boek, ik vind het spannend maar vooral heel erg leuk! 10. Ik hou van pianospelen, vooral van het liedje "Comptine d'un autre été". #10factsaboutme #10feitenovermij #10factsaboutmetag #tienfeitenovermij

A post shared by Winnen of Leren (@winnenofleren) on

In August of last year she posted a photo on Instagram of her with a sheep, as well as facts about her she wanted people to know. These facts included:

  • She had been a vegetarian for 7 years
  • She was passionate about animals, and especially adored guinea pigs
  • Her favorite color was black
  • She spent a little less than three years writing her book “Winning or Learning”
  • She loved the music of Genesis
  • The title of her book derived from a therapist at the clinic she was at – “this is his verdict,” she wrote. She explains more about this in her book.
  • She loved the piano

The tragic story of this young woman’s life was blown out of proportion last month when several media outlets reported that she’d been “legally euthanized.”

Pothoven’s family confirmed that their beloved Noa had not been euthanized. They issued a statement to the Gelderlander that read:

“Noa had chosen not to eat and drink anymore. We would like to emphasize that this was the cause of her death. She died in our presence last Sunday. We kindly ask everyone to respect our privacy so we as a family can mourn.”