GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A Secret Service report was recently released detailing the growing threat of men who describe themselves as incels and anti-feminists.
“Incel” is a portmanteau of “involuntary celibate.”
Ashley Harzog, the director of the Women and Gender Department at East Carolina University said the age groups that are at a higher risk to being exposed to the incel ideologies online are between 15 to the mid-20s. She says this age group can be more vulnerable to these views, which can then manifest into harmful things like mass shootings, domestic violence and stalking.
“Where I’m seeing most of these problematic behaviors first manifesting before physical violence are online. through social media, trolling comments, through creating fake profiles for people, bullying, anything that can engage in the act of dehumanizing another person and not be held accountable,” Harzog said.
Harzog also said changes in someone’s behavior, more anger than normal, isolation and loneliness are risk factors for being exposed to harmful content being promoted online.
“Those echo chambers can be really harmful because you can get sucked down into one specific harmful pocket of the internet. You may start to normalize these problematic behaviors, problematic ideologies,” Harzog added.
Harzog said universities have developed behavior intervention teams over the past decade that assess such behaviors in people who may be in crisis or who may be a risk to others.