So, it looks like I'm taking a little break from everything wrong with American politics to discuss--everything wrong with Israeli politics. Specifically, this cute little story out of Jerusalem.
A woman sues for divorce on the grounds of domestic violence. Naturally, the Beit Din cannot force the man to give a get, but they have the power to sanction in case of refusal. In this case, they did not use that power because--the husband only assaulted his wife after she left him.
"When a man takes a wife and is intimate with her, and it happens that she does not find favor in his eyes because he discovers in her an unseemly [moral] matter, and he writes for her a bill of divorce and places it into her hand, and sends her away from his house," (Devarim 24:1).
"She does not find favor in his eyes" are the grounds for a get, according to Torah text. I'd say assaulting her was evidence that he found her "unfavorable."
The rabbis argue that if she hadn't left, he would never have assaulted her. However, I would argue that, based on everything I've read about DV, physical assault was the escalation of a situation that has gone very, very bad. Usually, the wife leaving is a catalyst for escalation of abuse, and this can range from physical assault to murder. (I actually know someone this happened to. The wife was a victim of emotional abuse for years. She left her husband, and he physically assaulted her.) Moreover, the rabbis' statement sounds a lot like victim-blaming.
To me, there should be no discussion. The man assaulted his wife. We have it on the record. This is grounds not only for divorce, but a restraining order. The Torah is about compassion. Where is the compassion for the abuse survivor? Why do we have none for this poor woman?