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Constitutional Law

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Freedom of speech

2001

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Why Doesn't She Leave? The Collision Of First Amendment Rights And Effective Court Remedies For Victims Of Domestic Violence, Laurie S. Kohn Jan 2001

Why Doesn't She Leave? The Collision Of First Amendment Rights And Effective Court Remedies For Victims Of Domestic Violence, Laurie S. Kohn

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Despite the persistence of the question, social science literature is replete with reasons why a victim does not or cannot leave a battering relationship. Commonly cited explanations include lack of financial resources; fear of physical retribution; lack of access to information about options for escape; enduring love for the batterer and belief he will change; learned helplessness; and depression. This Article, however, focuses on a pervasive and previously unexamined reason: the victim's fear that the batterer will publicize truthful confidential information that will hurt her. If the victim were to seek the court's protection, most state courts have the authority …