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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 to prohibit the batterer from divulging the information. Under state law, most judges can issue a domestic violence protection order that includes a restriction on the batterer's speech. But are these restrictions constitutional? This Article examines the potential constitutional barriers to the issuance of this relief.

Publication Citation

29 Hastings Const. L.Q. 1-60 (2001)