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.

In November 2015, Janet did all the right things in trying to protect herself when filing for a divorce from her husband. Following the advice of her attorney and the police, she filed police reports and temporary protective orders that required her ex to surrender his firearms. However, the police neglected to confiscate the weapon he had in his vehicle. Five days later, he shot her six times — then shot himself.

Technically, Janet died from her wounds, but the doctors were able to revive her. Paralyzed from the waist down, Janet appreciates how lucky she was to have survived. Doctors call her the 1% because statistically, CPR and other revival procedures usually only succeed one time out of 100. Janet’s ex-husband was in the ambulance behind hers; he did not survive. She was stronger than he was.

Just as the medical miracles aligned to pull Janet back from the brink of death, and the sequence of events aligned so that her father and children weren’t with her as her ex-husband waited to ambush them, the stars also aligned when Janet learned about the creation of the Cobb Family Advocacy Center. As a Cobb County resident, she knew she had to become involved in assisting others in dire need. Through her work at the Center, Janet hopes that no other survivor has to go through what she went through - where she wasn’t believed, or her concerns were dismissed  - to prevent tragedies like hers from happening to anyone else.