Vogue highlights Orthodox women in campaign against get refusal
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The fact that such a big publication brought up the matter of gets reveals the importance of the issue & the deepness of the imbalance power between men and women on that matter.
While the get (Jewish divorce document) issue has been challenging the Jewish world for decades, the agunah - women trapped in marriage because their husbands refuse to provide them with a get - are trying to find ways to be heard, and what can work better than social media to bring public attention on the matter?
And it worked. Famous women's magazine Vogue published a full article on Wednesday dedicated on the matter titled "How Orthodox Women Are Using Social Media to Liberate Each Other From Dead Marriages," interviewing women who have been fighting to "get their get" and other women who have been helping them through this difficult process.
The fact that such a big publication brought up the matter of gets reveals the importance of the issue and the deepness of the imbalance power between men and women on that matter.
Some women are fighting for decades to retrieve their freedom, while the get-refusing men can forge ahead with a new life and even remarry, leaving the woman in an unbearable marital situation.
Indeed, without a get, an agunah woman cannot religiously remarry or even date someone.
The get is a document biblically established to ensure the woman, who then had fewer rights and economic opportunities in society, could not simply be discarded when her marriage was no longer viable.
Sadly, this document is now being used by some men to place women in the position of the underdog.
Recently, new technologies such as social media have been used to publicly shamed get-refusers and bring more attention to this issue.
For example, women seeking to be freed from their marriage reached out to Instagram influencers, such as the popular Jewish singer Dalia Oziel who posted on her Instagram page followed by thousands of people a flyer that was sent to her by Herman Sharabani, a woman that has been refused her get for more than 10 years.
The flyer featured Sharabani's ex-husband’s face paired with the phrase “Get Refuser.”
Bringing shame to these men and in so doing forcing them to relent and give their wives the freedom they deserve has become the mantra of these women fighting for their rights. On another hand, as Vogue reported, legal actions are also being carried out. A growing movement is working to register get refusal as domestic abuse as, most of the time, those who experience get refusal are survivors of domestic abuse.According to Vogue, "Amber Adler, an Orthodox Jewish mother of two who is running for city council in South Brooklyn, supports a New York State Assembly bill that would classify get refusal as coercive control and make it a felony."There are actually two laws in place in New York that theoretically protect against get refusal, the Domestic Relations Law 253 and Domestic Relations Law 236(b). "Both are intended to prevent the get system from being misused, but both laws contain loopholes that can be exploited," said Keshet Starr, a lawyer and the executive director of the nonprofit Organization for the Resolution of Agunot.