"Incels", Toronto van attack

Trigger warning: violence and sexism.

On Monday, a Toronto man committed a horrible act of violence that killed ten people. Reports confirm that hours before his violent rampage, he posted on Facebook: “the incel revolution has begun.” [1]

An “Incel” or involuntary celibate refers to a man who is angry because women won’t have sex with him. Angry because they feel entitled to women’s bodies. So angry, that these men engage in hate speech and play out violent fantasies against women in the dark corners of the internet. And encourage real-life violence. [2]

For years, journalists reporting on these hate groups have warned about incels turning their violent fantasies into reality. Even now, after the tragic Toronto van attack, online incel groups continue to threaten acid attacks and mass rapes [3] — and Canada isn’t equipped to stop them.

Canada is the only western country in the world without human rights laws banning cyber hate speech [4] — but with enough pressure applied on lawmakers at this very sensitive moment, together we can change this. Will you sign the petition demanding the Trudeau government introduce human rights laws against cyber hate speech before someone else gets hurt?

We can’t afford to dismiss this. Ten people are dead. And mass violence committed by men radicalised online has happened before. A California man who shot and stabbed 20 people, said he did it because of “all you girls who rejected me and looked down upon me and treated me like scum, while you gave yourself to other men.” [5]

That woman-hating criminal was praised by the Toronto attacker, whose own acts of violence intended to inspire other incels. [6]

Criminalizing hate speech under human rights law won't stop incels completely, but it will go a long way to disrupt and remove the online spaces where angry, misguided men use hateful views to encourage each other to commit real-life violence.

Canada used to have strong, federal cyber hate-speech laws — until Harper’s Conservatives axed it from the Human Rights Act. The attack in Toronto reminds us of how important these laws are. And it also creates the conditions where getting critical cyber laws re-instated becomes a lot more politically possible.

Politicians of all stripes — from the Liberals, NDPers and Conservatives — are united in expressing concern over the dangerous corners of the internet where hatred against women flourishes and turns into violence. [7]

With enough public support, we can convince the government to put hate-speech laws back into the Human Rights Act to destabilize hate groups online and prevent more violence. Will you add your name?

In hope,

Rachel and Brittany on behalf of the Leadnow team

[1][7] https://ipolitics.ca/2018/04/25/joly-calls-on-web-giants-to-fight-hate-speech-from-incels-after-van-attack/
[2][3] https://twitter.com/ArshyMann/status/988821452303622144
[4] http://nationalpost.com/news/politics/hate-speech-no-longer-part-of-canadas-human-rights-act
[5][6] https://www.dailyxtra.com/the-misogynist-ideology-behind-torontos-incel-terror-attack-must-be-confronted-86222

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