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“Incel” and “Involuntary Celibate” refer to members of a group founded on the belief that society unjustly denies them sexual or romantic attention, to which they believe they are entitled. Incels are primarily an online community composed of individuals - most of whom are men - who blame political or social movements, such as feminism, for empowering others to deny them romantic or sexual attention. Through online activity and in some instances violence, Incels primarily target those who they believe are unjustly denying them sexual or romantic attention, which in most cases are women.

Many cases involving violent incels have resulted in state-level criminal charges. Other cases involving violent incels resulted in the death of the perpetrator, therefore they were not criminally charged on a state or federal level. However, there have been a growing number of federal arrests. Researchers reviewed nearly 1,000 pages of legal documents in federal criminal cases of incel-inspired arrests since 2014. The documents provide a window into federal efforts to address the rising concern.