I am a male trying to empathize with the plight of Agunos. Approximately 20 years ago I attended an Agudath Israel convention where a group of Agunos tried to make a statement about their plight. At the time I felt some sympathy for their suffering, but did not really have any idea what pain they are going through. Fast forward 20 years, where I am now waiting and begging for a civil divorce from my Halachic ex-wife 2 years after I honored her wishes to give her a Get (her request for the Get was based on the fact that she did not want to live any longer with someone who had chronic depression. I am only revealing her reason so that no wise guy will write in to the CR suggesting that this “SilentOne” guy might be a wife-abuser or some other beast who deserves no mercy). When the Rabbonim told me it was time and that all efforts to save the marriage for to no avail, I gave her the Get quickly, without first securing from her an agreement on the civil issues surrounding the dissolution of the marriage. Naively I thought since she was the one who wanted the divorce, naturally she would be very amenable to have the civil divorce done quickly and fairly. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Now 2 years later, she has resorted to financial blackmail and every delay tactic to keep me from getting the civil divorce so that I am unable to resume my life. (I can’t look for a Shidduch without the civil divorce for many reasons. You might ask why I have not yet just asked a judge to force the civil divorce. I can’t elaborate on this legality in this public forum). While my pain is not even a fraction of what Agunos go through who can’t get a Jewish Get (since technically I have the legal option to force a civil divorce without her cooperation, as contrasted with the absence of any legal options available to Agunos), I now have much more understanding and empathy for their immense suffering. Frankly, I can think of no lower form of human trash than a person who refuses to let his/her spouse have a divorce, other than for example, a child killer, of the kind we were cruelly introduced to last summer.
Lastly, I read that HaGaon Reb Yaakov Kaminetzky, ZT”L told an Agunah that she is allowed to be Mispallel that her husband should die. It has been an incredible struggle for me not to Mispallel a similar request my ex-wife. I cannot be Mispallel for this, since one cannot compare my plight to the terrible Gehenom of an Agunah, and as such one cannot extrapolate the ruling of Reb Yaakov ZT”L to my situation. Yet often I wish that a great Gadol would be Matir me to say such a Tefillah since my life has also become too much to bear. Often on Friday nights when I walk back to my apartment alone, I tell myself that I will go the emergency room to save me from committing suicide over the course of the night. B”H it has not been necessary to go the hospital more than once, since my love for my children and my own mother, as well as the fear of the Mishpat of Hashem, has been a sufficient deterrent from harming myself. If I feel this desperate, then for sure the Agunos of this world must feel many times worse. We should all Daven to our All Merciful Father in Heaven for their plight and we should take any tactical steps to further their cause (e.g. attending rallies; anything other than violence).