Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt have put out a very helpful discussion about how churches should handle allegations of abuse. It appears on their podcast “Mortification of Spin,” and you can download it here or listen below.[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/mos.alliancenet.org/M020.master.mp3]
Trueman and Pruitt also take up the question of whether an abused spouse has biblical grounds for divorce. Working from the assumption that the Bible permits divorce in cases of adultery and desertion, Trueman argues that abuse is a form of desertion and thus can be used as a legitimate basis for divorce. For him, desertion cannot be reduced simply to abandoning a certain space. It must also include the abandonment of duties, and an abusive spouse is certainly guilty of that.
There are many evangelicals who disagree with this particular application of 1 Corinthians 7. Nevertheless, those evangelicals would still argue that abused spouses must be protected and even removed from the threat. I can’t think of anyone who says that a spouse should submit to abuse. Abusers must be reported to authorities, and the abused must be protected. Everyone agrees on that.
In any case, it’s a good discussion, and I commend it to you.