Toronto attack highlights “incels” violence, experts say

A message purportedly published by the Toronto pick-up suspect highlights a mostly male-dominated Internet community that maintains a rhetoric of violence against women, experts say.

Police authorities said they were investigating an “enigmatic” message posted on Alek Minassian’s Facebook page a few minutes before pedestrians were snapped up on Yonge Street.

Facebook confirms having removed the profile associated with this publication, which refers to the movement of “unintentional singles” or “incels”.

Ryan Duquette, from Hexigent, an IT consulting firm, says it’s unclear who had access to Alek Minassian’s Facebook profile when the message was published, based solely on the information released to the public. now.

Neither Facebook nor the police wanted to provide more details about the origin of the publication in question.

According to Mr. Duquette, himself a former police officer, the investigators probably seek to validate the origin of the publication by analyzing which device was used to disseminate it, location data and navigation history of the suspect.

According to Dublin City University Associate Professor Debbie Ging, who studies gender and social media issues, the “incels” are mostly men frustrated with their inability to meet a partner. These react by blaming women for their sexual rejection.

According to Ms. Ging, the threat of an “incitement revolt” mentioned in the message echoes the violent vocabulary used in ad-hoc discussion forums. It is mainly attributed to a need to “evacuate”.

The “enigmatic” publication also refers to a certain Elliot Rodger, a mass murderer who claimed six lives at the University of California in 2014, as a “Supreme Gentleman”, a nickname often used by “incels”.

Debbie Ging says the message sparked a discussion about the violent feelings of these male subcultures, which reinforces the need to take them seriously.

“I think you have to take this movement seriously as a kind of political entity,” she says. This virulent and vitriolic antifeminism is part of an important reaction. That’s the way to look at it, and that’s the way to deal with it. ”

A Queens University doctoral student specializing in gender-based violence, Bailey Gerrits argues that the debate over threats of “toxic masculinity” is not exclusive to online communities. The reflection should encompass a broader culture of male violence that manifests itself daily through sexual assault, domestic violence and homicides, according to Gerrits.

“These online communities are not disconnected from society. They are the real world, “says the researcher.

Police acknowledged that the victims of Monday’s attack were “mostly women”.

Alek Minassian, 25, is charged with 10 counts of first degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. A 14th charge of attempted murder may be added during the investigation, police said.

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