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When Christa Turpin received a call from a woman looking for help with the light bill, she knew right away that this was not an ordinary plea for assistance. When Olivia, the woman on the other end of the phone, explained that she had no transportation and was not allowed out of the house to apply for a utility voucher, Christa suspected that Olivia was trapped in a domestic violence situation.

In addition to being The Salvation Army’s Service Extension representative for Greene County, Indiana, Christa is also the county’s Women’s Advocate with Middle Way House, a domestic violence shelter based in Bloomington. She has had plenty of experience working with women and children who are in abusive situations and knows what the signs look like.

The next day, Christa put on her “Salvation Army hat” and visited Olivia in her home to make arrangements for financial assistance. What she found confirmed her suspicions.

Olivia had been beaten and her finger had been broken by her husband. She confided in Christa that if she didn’t come up with the money to pay the overdue electric bill, she would be beaten again. The situation was so bad that Olivia’s children were unable to live with her, staying instead with their father and visiting only briefly with Olivia.

Christa was able to provide the utility assistance that Olivia desperately needed, but she was also able to give the frightened woman the hope that she needed and reassurance that a better life was waiting for her outside of that unhappy home. Together they assembled an escape plan, figuring out the perfect time to get out and making arrangements with relatives to provide extra assistance.

Today Olivia is safe and living in a new home where she has the freedom, independence and time to heal from her painful past. She’d come to The Salvation looking to bring light to her home, but what Olivia received was much more precious: light in her life.