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Speaker says stalking is prevalent issue

Benefit dinner set for Saturday

CHESAPEAKE — February is National Stalking Awareness Month and an event at a local restaurant is aimed to raise awareness of the problem and fun efforts to fight it.

A benefit dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Chateau D’Italia in Chesapeake.

The featured speaker will be Liz Deal, a victim advocate of CONTACT 24 Hour Rape Crisis Center in Huntington.

“I’ll be talking about the impact of stalking on victims and providing statistics about how prevalent the problem is,” Deal said.

She said she would also discuss things people can do if they are victims, as well as providing resources people can use to get protection.

Deal said that while CONTACT deals mainly with victims of sexual assault, it is not unusual for victims of stalking to seek help from the center.

She said all resources provided by the shelter are free and that they are funded completely from grants and donations, while employing low overhead.

Donations will be collected and proceeds from the dinner will go to CONTACT. Musical entertainment will be provided with a five-course Italian dinner.

There are 7.5 million people who are victims of stalking in the U.S. each year, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

The center says 15 percent of women and six percent of men have experienced stalking in their lifetime in which they feared that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

Chateau owner Toni Karle said the issue is an important one to her and that a member of her family has been a victim of stalking. The event had originally been scheduled for Jan. 23, but was postponed due to the winter storm over the weekend.

For more information on the dinner and to make reservations, visit www.chateauditalia.com or call 304-208-4525. The cost is $28.