It took a long time until the Dayanim realized that this was a difficult, unusual case involving extreme violence. It didn’t happen at the start. I arrived at the Beit Din for the first hearing accompanied by a lawyer on behalf of the state, who I was not pleased with because I felt he wasn’t really representing me. On the other hand, I didn’t really know how to deal with lawyers, or really with the entire Rabbinic judiciary system. In the first hearing, they still tried to convince me to turn to “Shalom Bait” (spousal reconciliation). I was horrified. How can they not see that what was happening here wasn’t normal? That it makes no sense to send a battered woman back home with her abusive husband?!
My lawyer arrived half an hour late to the second hearing, so during that first half-hour, I represented myself. I showed them the records of violence, I explained in my own words that I had been physically and verbally abused and I felt like they were really listening, but it didn’t seem like they intended to take action. In the third hearing, things were the same, and no progress was made. He didn’t even show up to some of the hearings. I asked myself: why are they sitting there, waiting?
At that point, I turned to “Mavoi Satum”. Right after the first hearing accompanied by the lawyer provided on behalf of “Mavoi Satum”, we asked to impose sanctions. Prior to that moment, I didn’t know the Dayanim had the option of imposing sanctions. I was very surprised. Why did they wait until then? Why must an abused woman wait a whole year? Why did the Dayanim not suggest this of their own accord? Why must we wait and suffer? It lasted another hearing and then another one… I felt that they didn’t understand my need to be free, and why it really mattered to me. I wanted to move on.
Mavoi Satum’s lawyer successfully proved that this wasn’t a simple case – that there was violence in our relationship, as well as with the girls. She was assertive and decisive, she really knew what to demand and how. Following her demands, he arrived at the next hearing thanks to a subpoena, and it was during that hearing that he granted me the Get.
My husband’s lawyer tried to put the blame on me, but I didn’t respond. I simply did not listen to any of the lies he told. I knew I was right, and eventually – the Dayanim realized this as well. I have to mention that on the day I was granted the Get, I felt that the Beit Din acted just fine. The Dayanim told him that it would be a matter of hours from the moment he decides to grant me a Get to the time the Get is signed. One of the Dayanim escorted him outside, put a hand on his shoulder, and convinced him to cooperate, to grant me the Get, so that we could each go on and live our lives… That really helped him make up his mind.
We divided the financial assets between us, not really equally, but getting my Get and my freedom was really more important to me that day. So I compromised on some of the clauses. Since Mavoi Satum became involved, the process progressed faster. I couldn’t believe that I would already be granted a Get after the second hearing with them. It was truly a miracle. Mavoi Satum is an organization that does good for so many women. It’s an organization that does only good, and thank you all.