ISD’s Head of Communications & Editorial, Tim Squirrell, gave comment to VICE about a new study of ‘incel exit’ communities. These communities, which exist primarily on Reddit, allow current members of the incel movement to speak to those who have managed to find their way out. These former incels provide guidance and a listening ear to those who are still in the more toxic incel forums.
Tim told VICE, the approach of former extremists mentoring others to exit dangerous ideologies is “well tested” but requires “a huge amount of investment of time, resources and patience. There are people doing this work unpaid, all the time, and the difficulty for scaling up this approach to de-radicalisation is that it’s so difficult to get funding for because it’s time intensive and can’t be automated. It requires a human connection to work.”
r/IncelExit, the main forum for incels hoping to exit the movement, is notable for the fact that it is still standing, Tim said. “While incel spaces often function as the world’s worst support group – a lot of people sitting around telling you that it’s not just as bad as you think, it’s worse, and it will never get better – an actual support group for people suffering from issues associated with self-esteem, masculinity, and sexual and romantic non-fulfilment is a vital resource.”