A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Abuse and Divorce: We’ve Got it Completely Backwards

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.

***

A great thought in a miserable job

Have you ever had a really good thought hit you while you were doing something totally unrelated?  Here I was today, digging out this water line so I could insert a “T” fitting and make a new water faucet for the hose.  All went well until I tried to fit the cut pipe back together.  I had to do a lot more digging before it worked.

Anyway, in the middle of all of this, my mind wandered where it so often does these days – the unjust treatment of abuse victims in our churches.  I had a kind of “eureka” moment just before the pipe slid back together.  Here it is.  As usual with these kinds of things, it really is just common sense.

Jesus addressed abusers.  When He gave His instruction about divorce, he was talking to (or about) men who treacherously divorced their wives.  Think about it.  These are the people he was talking to.  HE WAS NOT SPEAKING TO A WOMAN WHO CAME TO HIM PLEADING FOR RESCUE FROM HER EVIL HUSBAND.  Sorry for the caps.  Sometimes I need to shout.

What do we do today?  Woman comes into her pastor’s office.  Tells him her husband is actually a wicked man who has been emotionally, verbally, and even physically abusing her for years.  Pastor pulls out his Bible.  Turns to Matthew 19 and reads to her:

Matthew 19:7-9 ESV (7)  They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” (8)  He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. (9)  And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

Then he tells her she has no grounds for divorce, to go home and try harder.

JESUS DID NOT DO THIS!  JESUS DID NOT DO THIS!  This is what hit me at the water line hole.  The words we are quoting to victims are the words Jesus spoke to the ABUSERS!  And as you think about the implications of this, the horror of it begins to strike you.  We are treating victims like their abusers!  “Hmmm…let’s see.  Jesus said something about that…ah yes, here it is!  You are forbidden from divorcing your evil husband (or wife).”  I mean, it really is the same thing as pulling out the account of Jesus whipping the moneychangers and then telling the woman she needs to get lashed!

Someone find me a Scripture where an oppressed person came to Jesus pleading for help and Jesus sent them back into their oppression.  Find me a Scripture where Jesus told a suffering woman, for example, to go back to her suffering.  I don’t know that Jesus.  Here is the one I have met in God’s Word:

Matthew 4:23-24 ESV  (23)  And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.  (24)  So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.

Ok, back to the water line.

41 Comments

  1. Jacqueline Hadley

    Beautiful and well put.

  2. Jeff S

    Yes!  I said this to the elders at my church over their doctrine of divorce: “Do you really think this is the way Christ would have answered an abused woman who asked about divorce?” Even before I studied in depth about what the Bible says about divorce, just trying to imagine Christ answering “you are hard hearted- if you divorce and remarry you are committing adultery” to a woman terrorized with a black eye and bloodied wounds made me want to vomit.

    And the thing I heard multiple times was that the abused stay married to represent God’s truth to the world. Is that picture really the truth God wants proclaimed? That the beaten and oppressed for the twisted pleasure of another human being are to be judged for trying to make it stop?

    That was not the question Jesus was asked. He never answered this question from an abused women. He didn’t have to- the character of God is answer enough.

    • joepote01

      Exactly, Jeff S.!

      Go to any given scripture passage asking the wrong questions…questions which are not being addressed by that passage…and you will, more than likely, find wrong answers.

      We must not force scripture to address a situation not being addressed and then turn around and teach it as inflexible legalistic doctrine. Yet, that is exactly what has too often been done with this passage in Matthew 19.

      You might enjoy a post I did on this topic, using this same passage for illustration: Asking the Right Questions [Internet Archive link]

  3. Laurie

    Ps. Jeff C.: 🙂 Thank you for hearing, heeding and sharing this insight that God has given you.

  4. Greg Bryant

    It astounds me how some change the words of God in there mind. There isn’t many of us left that understand that (God is love) not a tool for pain.

  5. speakingtruthinlove
  6. Anonymous

    I have always thought that Jesus was saying this to the men asking this question: “I know how you abuse and use your wives and when you are done with them, you throw them to the ash heap; and then you come and ask me if you can divorce your wives for any reason, like that isn’t what you have already BEEN doing. So, let me just tell you this boys! You divorce your wives now, for any reason OTHER than adultery, and YOU, will be guilty of adultery yourselves. Understand?” Do you think that could be at all, what Jesus was saying here? I think Jesus was sick of these men abusing their wives and then throwing them away, without any good reason at all. Isn’t Deut. 24 all about women being able to be free from the men who didn’t want them and instead abused them?

    • anon

      Wow…anon! I like how you just broke that down. Makes absolute sense. I absolutely hear Jesus in what you just wrote. I was in an abusive, adulterous marriage for 10yrs. Because of my lack of understand the question that was asked to Jesus by the religious leaders about divorce. I thought getting a divorce means i’m hardening my heart. So I can’t go there. I didn’t. I thank God because He set me free from my captivity by speaking the words, “your free to go,” when cried out about not wanting to go back to the ex.

    • 3blossommom

      Fantastic!

  7. Sherry Wright

    I have a story which is one where the victim is treated as the perpetrator and where the victim is highly suggested that she to win over her abuser with a meek snd quiet spirit, and trust God for the change. Yet who cares for victim, who? Where is the accountability the abuser has for his behavior?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Sherry – All too often that accountability is non-existent in our churches. Abuse situations are viewed as shared blame. Anyone who knows the nature and mentality and tactics of abuse knows that the victim’s “meek and quiet spirit” is only going to empower her abuser. At best most church counseling in this area is incompetent and at worst it is a willful siding with the abuser.

      • Sherry

        Well, that is my story Jeff. A twenty-five year story which took me many years to walk through the cloud of confusion that the church takes on this issue versus what God and his word states as the value of a human and how we treat one another. I finally left my situation five years ago while attending Seminary where the oppression, lack of compassion, as well as understanding was undeniable.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Sherry- Yep, and you have lots of company unfortunately. Did you mean that the oppression and lack of compassion was also prevalent in the seminary you were at? I would be interested to know. Glad you are free!

      • Sherry

        Yes Jeff, that is exactly what I am saying. Oh, compassion is professed but not lived out in actuality when it comes to intervention, accountability, and help for the oppressed as well as her children. One of the main problems I encountered with the Seminary, as well as the local church we attended, was that there was no (practiced) church-discipline in place for abuse situations, or for that matter, any situation that needed discipline. Therefore, the affliction on the abused, without the protection of the church, seminaries, and such leads to this problem being continually perpetuated. It is unfortunate that a Christian has to seek help from the world on matters of abuse, because it recognizes it as a real issue, when the church is completely capable but lacks the courage to take a stand.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Because of the prevalence of spiritual abuse in churches where the leadership unbiblically dictates matters of conscience to members, church discipline is often a scary topic for victims of abuse. But as you say, proper church discipline is a protection for the oppressed when it is justly and biblically practiced. For that reason, I find that the “friendly” churches of our day that really refuse to discipline the wicked (oh, they all say they practice discipline in their statements of faith), are anything but friendly to the oppressed victims of the wicked. In fact, what can be expected in most all of those settings is that the victim will be the one who is, formally or informally, excluded from the church. I find that there is an appalling lack of understanding about the nature of evil and how it operates. To stand against evil requires courage, the willingness to sacrifice and be hated.

        And so the real question we must come to is the one no one wants to ask – “is the ‘church’ we see so commonly today truly the body of Christ? Is Christ even present in them? Or are things far worse than we want to think and in fact many, many so-called churches are not churches in truth at all?”

      • Sherry

        Jeff, honestly, this is the first time in my five-year journey from leaving an abusive marriage that someone, you, are writing the exact things I have discussed with God in my heart, over and over and over again, wondering if my thoughts and feelings were just mine and waiting for the right time to discuss my journey if the situation and timing was right. I am taken aback with the comment you posted on the 13th at 1:57p. Oh, how many times I have thought the same exact thing you wrote and felt too intimidated to speak up at that time. I continually went to God and his word knowing that there was such a contradiction of what the elders spoke and lived out versus what God’s word was actually saying. His word, God’s, is a message of redemption and hope, not oppression.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Great news to hear, Sherry. It is rather amazing, isn’t it? I mean, when you start getting it all sorted out it really is pretty clear. It is really hard to figure out truth when you are being told lies by people you assume know far more than you do.

  8. Deanna

    I am glad you brought this up and asked if we could cite a scriptural reference where a woman is asked to return to abuse. I have one, and it was a deciding factor in my own life with deciding if I must return to my abusive husband before I saw significant change (he ended up getting worse and we are divorcing). It is found in Genesis 16:6-9. After Sarah abuses Hagar in such a way that she runs away, an angel finds Hagar and tells her to return to her master and to submit. She is not offered protection. I will share the passage below, with the hopes others will contribute their perspective to these verses:

    “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
    “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
    Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”

    Any thoughts?

    • Jeff S

      One thing I would like to also point out is that while the Bible contains accounts of many people suffering for the cause of righteousness, never once do we have a godly example of a human demanding that another human suffer. Angels or God may ask a person to suffer for His glory, Christ predicts suffering for his followers, and clearly there are examples of inspired choices (Paul remaining in the prison) where individuals choose to suffer, but it is a whole different ballgame when a religious leader looks at someone who has come for help and directs him or her to suffer.

      One example I got a lot was Hosea being called to take back his adulterous wife. First off, again it was God who directly called Hosea to suffer, and in the second place the point here was the metaphore of Israel’s unfaithfulness not the choices or righteousness of the prophet Hosea. As an aside, it’s not even immediately clear he WAS asked to take back the same wife- it may have been a new wife.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Deanna – I thought of this one too. Thank you for pointing it out. I think it is important that we read on:

      Gen 16:10 The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”
      Gen 16:11 And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
      Gen 16:12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
      Gen 16:13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
      Gen 16:14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
      Gen 16:15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
      Gen 16:16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

      And again –

      Gen 16:10 The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”
      Gen 16:11 And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction.
      Gen 16:12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
      Gen 16:13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
      Gen 16:14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
      Gen 16:15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
      Gen 16:16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

      And finally –

      Galatians 4:22-31 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. (23) But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. (24) Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. (25) Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. (26) But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. (27) For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” (28) Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. (29) But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. (30) But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” (31) So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

      Abraham was a very unusual man. He was the first Jew! God made a covenant with him and it would be from his seed that the Lord Jesus Christ would come. That is why God promised to make the descendants of Ismael multiply. So you see, this is not a “normal” case. Being in Abraham’s household was a place of blessing, in spite of Sarah’s dislike of Hagar. The Lord ultimately had Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away and the Apostle Paul picks up on this as a type of the two covenants, the Old and the New. In other words, the Lord had some really unusual and particular purposes in respect to Ishmael. I don’t think it would be wise to take this example and conclude that the Lord is teaching every abuse victim to return to their abuser.

    • Deanna, thanks for your thought provoking comment!
      I agree with Jeff Crippen that the case of Hagar, Sarah and Abraham is a very special case, ordained by God for reasons to do with His overarching plan for the Jews and how they would be persecuted by the descendants of Ishmael. These things are too marvellous and mysterious for us to fully unravel, from our limited perspective in the time-space continuum. I’m sure we can ask God about them when we get to heaven!

      But your question brings up an important issue of hermeneutics (how we interpret Scripture). We cannot necessarily take narratives in the Bible and derive doctrine from them. Yes, a narrative may illustrate a doctrine. Paul uses the narrative of Hagar and Sarah as an allegory to teach about the Old and New Covenants. Paul uses the narrative of how Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness, to illustrate how salvation comes from faith, not works. Jesus used the narrative of Jonah being three days in the belly of the whale to illustrate how he would be in the grave for three days before his resurrection. I could go on an on as there are many examples.
      Narrative may be used to illustrate doctrine that is specifically articulated as doctrine (not narrative) elsewhere in the Bible. But narrative by itself should not be used to establish doctrine.

      When people told you you should go back to your abuser because Hagar was told to return to Sarah, they were using a narrative to create a doctrine. That’s wrong; it’s not good hermeneutics.

      If there were other place in the Bible which unequivocally taught that victims must return to their unrepentant abusers, and if any of those passages used the story of Hagar to illustrate their teaching, that would be a different matter. But there are no such doctrinal passages.

    • joepote01

      Deanna,

      Just as in the above example by Jeff Crippen, it is important to look at who is being addressed, in what circumstances.

      This was not a case of classic abuse, where Hagar was being subjected to abuse through no fault of her own. The trouble between Sarai and Hagar began with Hagar verbally and emotionally abusing Sarai, because Hagar bore a child to Abram whereas Sarai was barren. Hagar was not being abused, but disciplined. Once Hagar repented of her abuse of Sarai, apparently, all was forgiven and relationship was restored.

      As Barabara pointed out, I would be very careful about not reading too much into this narrative, simply because it includes a domestic situation (slavery, poligamy and concubines) that is foreign to our culture, and therefore, difficult to relate directly to situations in our culture.

      However, it is clear that Hagar was more at fault than not in this domestic dispute. It is also clear that Hagar was not being sent back to a situation of on-going abuse, but to a situation where she would find protection and provision for both herself and her child.

  9. Desley

    Amen! And surely those who demand that women submit to abuse for the sake of the marriage covenant are the blind guides who are guilty of straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.

    Keep ’em coming!

    • 3blossommom

      Amen

  10. Pepe

    No offense but it was not ‘Job’ in the belly of the whale but JONAH…..enjoying your blog …pertinent subject matter! Thank you

    • Oops! fixed it.

      • Pepe

        Yea! Good response…..thank you …!

  11. Laurie

    Even Paul upheld the slave/master relationship, such as is the case with Sarai and Hagar–please note it’s “Sarai” and not “Sarah” here, the covenant was not yet sealed with Abram/Abraham.

    Marriage is not a master/slave relationship.

  12. joepote01

    Yes! Jeff, you nailed it, exactly!

    We must pay attention to whom Jesus was addressing, and what questions He was answering.

  13. Deanna

    I am very grateful for all the thoughtful and insightful responses to my question regarding Hagar and Sarai. All the other verses that were used to chastise me for wanting to leave my marriage coming to mind, like the order to turn the other cheek, and winning my husband over with submission. Are there godly examples where a spouse ended the relationship for a good cause (other than adultery and desertion) and it wasn’t sinful? God’s decision to divorce Israel comes to mind, but I can’t think of others. I wish the bible were more clear on this issue.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Deanna – Maybe not spouses, but I know that Paul “divorced” Alexander the coppersmith and told Timothy to do the same thing. We are consistently called in Scripture to not be bound together with unbelievers, and we are to “divorce” professing Christians if they walk habitually and unrepentantly in sin. The Great Divorce is that which Jesus effected for us on the cross when He led us in a great exodus away from the old covenant of bondage and slavery to Satan.

    • joepote01

      Deanna, the passage you referenced from Jeremiah 3 is an important one in understanding God’s heart in regard to divorce in situations where covenant vows have been violated. This passage helped me to see that, not only is divorce “permissible” in some situations, but it is also God’s direct will in some situations. Clearly, since God never acts outside His own will, divorce was God’s direct will and direct action in the case of His divorcing the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel.

      Another major point, for me, was in coming to realize that Redemption from a blood covenant is divorce.

      As Jeff Crippen pointed out, above, God redeemed Israel from Pharaoh, and God redeemed us from the kingdom of darkness. In both cases, God caused a blood covenant to be dissolved, when that covenant had become a tool of abusive bondage enslaving His children.

      God redeems His children from covenants of bondage, delivering them through the divorce.

      If you’d like to read more on this topic, I have a page on my website titled What is Redemption? [Internet Archive link]

      Our Redeemer Lives!

  14. prophetshrek

    Jeff, did you ever get a chance to read Cindy’s Book “God is My Witness”? She mentions just that in her book, in reference to Matthew 19 (hardness of hearts)

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes I did. She sent me a copy. I will review it again. I am looking at her chapter on legalism right now as well. Thanks to both of you!

      • prophetshrek

        Your very welcome, we sure love the interaction Cry For Justice! Lots of good stuff

  15. Amylisa C.

    Never saw this article before. Applause Thank you for posting this!!

  16. Nancy

    Thank you to all – and especially Deanna for asking great questions. It took 32 years and a suicide attempt to finally realize my life was unmanageable, that abuse (mostly emotional) had almost killed me, and that if nothing changed, I would die. I was already dead on the inside. My sense of worth was zero.

    We separated on my request, and just before he left I found out my husband had never entered covenant marriage and that my instincts had been right all along. I believe that gaining this knowledge was God’s gift to me.

    I never knew life without an abuser of one sort or another in my living space before September 2014. It is amazing to be 55 and experiencing “permission” to be me for the first time. The joy I find in finally understanding God’s love as passion instead of pity, is remarkable!

    God has healed me completely. There is no other way to put it. Years of therapy and hard work changed my worldview. No longer do I believe I am nothing. Instead, “daughter of the King” has become a certain, relational reality.

    God has called me into Christian mental health and recovery advocacy. While others my age are looking to retirement, I am like a young adult building my career! It is exciting and hopeful. To have the huge honor of speaking to desperate people about hope – well, I cannot put into words how that feels.

    I do not regret my past because it made me who I am today and able to pass on the comfort I received from the Lord. Psalm 90 14-17 is my prayer. One line in it is (NLT), “Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery; replace the evil years with good.” He is doing it! Whatever lies ahead for me – whether one might perceive it disappointing or not, I have been given the gift of life abundant. I know his peace, his presence, and his purpose.

    He loves me more than he loved my marriage. I appreciate this website very much, and pass it on often.

    God Bless,
    Nancy

    • Savedbygrace

      Dear Nancy thank you so much for encouraging me through your testimony. I am in a similar life space but have not quite made it out the other end yet.. so it’s good to hear of someone who has.

      He loves me more than he loved my marriage.
      This is a lovely truth 🙂

    • Hi Nancy
      thanks for the encouragement!

      Since this is your first comment, I’ll point you to our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog. (You may already be aware of that page.)

      And since you are supporting other survivors, you might like to look at our Resources page for Supporters of Victims of Domestic Abuse

    • leaningonhope

      Thank you all for sharing. Even though this article was written so many years ago, it is still so helpful.

      Can you please direct me to any articles/posts you have that would specifically address the remarried woman? Whether or not she is an adulteress? In what context?
      I have Christian friends who are of the belief that since I remarried I am living in sin, committing adultery. My former husband was an abuser, a rager, committed adultery, put us all in physical danger, and then completely abandoned his wife (me) and children.

      I also have another question. What about the scripture in 1 Cor 5, where Paul outlines the evil character of a professing Christian? What if you are married to a man who has been financially extorting you, swindling you? This abuse is more subtle, cunning, clothed in charm etc and you don’t see it until you have been in relationship for a while.
      Any comments or advice for a person who is trying to extract herself from the financial abuser?

      I SO MUCH appreciate this site and all those who write and contribute. Thank you so much. I wonder where I would be, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, had I not ever found you.

      • Hi leaningonhope, here are some links that I think will help answer your questions.

        Remarriage
        What about remarriage? This is one of our FAQ pages.

        By the way, you can find all our FAQ pages in the top menu. If you are using your phone to navigate our blog, you may have to hit another button to see the top menu. Or you can just look for FAQ — that link takes you to all our FAQs and from there you can dig into the questions that most interest you.

        Financial Abuse
        I intend to create an FAQ page about financial abuse, but have not had the time to do so yet.
        Financial Abuse – how to identify and deal with it [Oct. 21/21: Financial Abuse FAQ link added to the comment. Editors.]

        In the meantime, here are some links that have suggestions or personal accounts from survivors about dealing with financial abuse.

        Financial abuse from intimate partners — a lament, stories and tips to protect oneself

        Playing Stupid to Obtain Advantage: a Story of Financial Abuse

        For Love or Money – 7 min video about Financial Abuse

        Financial matters when leaving abusive relationships [Internet Archive link]WomensLaw.org

        Questions to Ask Before Retaining a Lawyer if you are a Victim of Domestic Abuse

        Ideas for saving money and reducing your expenses

        Savings calculator

        But in giving you the above links, I know there are NO easy answers for those trapped in or suffering the after-effects of financial abuse from an intimate partner. Abusers who are skilled at financial abuse as part of their arsenal of abuse tactics are very canny and cunning. And the institutions of society (like the legal system) that should be protecting victims from these evildoers are woefully failing to protect them. So my heart goes out to anyone who is dealing with heavy-duty financial abuse from their abuser. I can and do sympathise, but I don’t think I can provide you much real help where the rubber hits the road.

        I have heard that some banks in Australia have special policies of leniency in regards to domestic abuse victims who are lumbered with the obligation to repay loans their abusive spouses coerced them to be legally responsible for. These Aussie banks still require the loan to be repaid, but they may allow it to be repaid at a slower rate than normal. So it may be worth asking your bank if they have any leniency provisions for victims of domestic abuse – but don’t have high expectations, because from what I’ve heard even the Australian banks that have these policies are not being of much help to victims. And I don’t know whether banks in other countries have any leniency provisions for victims of domestic abuse.

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