Take “Kat,” a 16-year-old who left the United States with her family for a country she won’t name for fear that she will become a target of intimidation or worse.
Her father is on a state sex offender registry after being found guilty 31 years ago of molesting a 10-year-old boy. In February 2007 when she was 8, Kat’s school district sent out a pamphlet with the names, photos and addresses of all registrants in the area, including her father’s.
It didn’t take long for her to feel the fallout. She was disinvited from a birthday party that weekend, she says. The following week, a friend’s mother stopped her daughter from talking to Kat on the street and told her never again to go near Kat or her house. From that point forward, she lost nearly all her friends, she says.
When she hit middle school in fall 2009, the isolation turned into sexual harassment. Boys would approach her in the hall and on the street with lewd suggestions, she says. …
After more isolation and bullying, in March 2013 the family uprooted and left the country. The neighborhood they live in now is poor and dirty, Kat says. But “unlike at home,” she adds, “people here treat us with respect.”