Stories

Turning a Tragedy into Activism: Janet Paulsen’s Story

Acworth, Georgia's mother, Janet Paulsen, never planned to be on the executive planning committee of the soon-to-open Cobb Family Advocacy Center, but she is determined to use her experience as a domestic violence survivor to help others.

DVAM - Santresa Weldon's Survivor Story

There are two moments in Santresa Weldon’s life that she will never forget, the NBA playoffs in June 2017 and the 4th of July that same year. These dates mark the moments that Santresa’s husband — the person Santresa thought loved her the most — attacked and tortured her.

DVAM – Harralyn Rawls Survivor Story

Harralyn Swinger Rawls, a long-time victims’ advocate, co-founder of Fellowship Community Outreach Ministry, and minister, is a self-proclaimed “abuser magnet,” after having endured cruelty and assault from eight different abusers in her lifetime — the worst being her ex-husband whom she escaped 25 years ago.

 

A Closer Look With Christine Scartz

  

 

 

 

 

Christine Scartz is a clinical associate professor at the University of Georgia School of Law and director of the Law School’s Jane W. Wilson Family Justice Clinic. Before joining the law school faculty in 2015, Christine was in private practice concentrating on family law and criminal defense. She graduated from UGA Law School magna cum laude in 1994 and from the University of Virginia with distinction in 1991 with degrees in French and history.

A Closer Look With Sheriff Greg Countryman

Sheriff Greg Countryman is a 32-year law enforcement professional. Prior to being elected sheriff in 2020, he served 16 years as elected marshal of Muscogee County, Georgia. Sheriff Countryman is the only person in the history of Muscogee County to ever be elected as both marshal and sheriff. He is also the first African American to hold the Office of the Sheriff since its inception in 1828. Sheriff Countryman is a 21st-century thinker who believes in serving the community as a whole and leaving an imprint in the minds of those he serves. 

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Victim’s Voice Story: Crystal Matheson

Crystal MathesonCrystal Matheson, a victim of domestic violence, a beneficiary of Marsy’s Law, and now a victims’ advocate, shared her story in a short interview. She discussed her belief in God, her experiences as a crime victim in the court systems, and how the Crime Victims’ Rights Bill (Marsy’s Law) is changing victims’ lives for the better.

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A Closer Look at Devyn Duncan, Victim Services for the Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office

Devyn DuncanDevyn Duncan is the Victim Services Director for the Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. After having earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, she has been working as a victim advocate for nearly five years. While Devyn never intended to pursue victim advocacy, she wouldn’t trade it for anything. She loves interacting with and helping victims, and getting to see how much individuals can flourish once they are out of a domestic violence situation. When Devyn is not at work, she is usually baking or playing with her mini golden doodle, Indi. 

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Victim’s Voice: Amy Robinson

Amy Chatham Robinson is a software engineer, mother, wife, and sister, who lives in Norcross, Georgia. Amy’s sister, Nique (Dominque) Leili was killed by her husband, Matt Leili, on July 9, 2011. During their 13-year marriage, Matt Leili was not only verbally and physically abusive, but also reportedly used technology to track her every move.

Amy and her family miss Nique every day, and while nothing would be comparable to having her back, they do find solace that Gwinnett County was respectful of the family and determined to find justice for her murder.

Marsy’s Law Will Help to Ensure that Victims are not Re-Victimized - Shelly Hall

Voters passed Marsy’s Law for Georgia by more than 80 percent in 2018, demonstrating overwhelming support for strong crime victims’ rights. As our state moves to implement these new constitutional rights, there’s still much work to do to ensure victims know their rights and know how to demand them in our judicial process.

Victims of Crime Need to Know Their Rights - Jessalyn Dorsey

For over 18 years I have advocated for victims’ rights and walked victims through the judicial system. I saw a need to support crime victims based on my own traumatic event, for which I was completely unprepared. In 1999, I lost my child to gunfire outside of a neighborhood birthday party. That tragic day reshaped my life. I went from despair over the murder of my only child to becoming a committed advocate for crime victims and survivors.