Cape Times

Dutch teenager traumatise­d after rape, starves to death at home


A DUTCH teenager who was traumatise­d by a childhood sex attack starved to death at home after medics allowed her to refuse food and drink.

Noa Pothoven, 17, who wrote a book about her long battle with anorexia, severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, died on Sunday.

Medics supervised Noa, from Arnhem, after agreeing she could stop eating and drinking – but did not actively euthanise her, a Dutch minister and an end-of-life clinic said on Wednesday.

“We are in touch with her family, who have told us that, despite internatio­nal media reports to the contrary, there is no question of euthanasia in this case,” Dutch health minister Hugo de Jonge said.

The Levenseind­ekliniek in The Hague also released a statement from her friends clarifying how Noa’s life ended.

“To stop her suffering, she stopped eating and drinking,” they said.

Noa had announced her intention to die a few days earlier in a post on her Instagram account.

The teenager had wanted to be euthanised at The Levenseind­ekliniek (End of Life Clinic), but they refused.

“Let me get to the point. Within the next 10 days I’m going to die,” she wrote. “For a while now I’ve stopped eating and drinking and after many discussion­s… it is decided that I will be let go because my life is unbearable.”

She was sexually assaulted at the age of 11 and at 14 was raped by two men, but was too afraid to tell her parents.

In Holland, children as young as 12 can be granted euthanasia if they desire, but only after a doctor concludes that the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no clear end in sight.

In 2017, about 6 585 people chose euthanasia to end their own lives in the Netherland­s, about 4.4% of the total number of more than 150 000 registered deaths in the country, according to the Regional Euthanasia Review Committee which strictly monitors all cases.

 ??  ?? NOA Pothoven.
NOA Pothoven.

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