My mother had to meet with the elders when she decided to divorce her second JW husband about 5 years ago. She gave grounds of physical, mental, and spiritual abuse and she *says* that they gave her the okay to file. But she is a woman and a nobody, like all females in the org, and it's not like they could threaten her with losing a position of importance, and I don't think she would have let them pressure her to stay like they did in her first marriage.
I was already long gone from the JW club when this happened with the second hubs, so I just have to take her word on how "reasonable" she claims they were. Often times she stretches the truth (haha ...truth) to try to convince me how much the JWs have come around on issues and "changed".
With her first husband (my father and an elder), it was a different story. She had to wait 30 years until all her kids and herself were completely traumatized and screwed up before she was forced to finally escape his abuse by terrible circumstances and things getting so horrible, we couldn't hide it anymore from the congregation ... or even the evening news. The elders knew about *some* of what he was doing to us for years ... they just kept commending my mom for being such a good spiritual example and not bringing reproach on Jehovah's name by outing him.
The whole goddamn story is a Lifetime mini-series if you want to know the truth. I still get upset when I attempt to talk about it.