The Men in the Woods

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Mike Newland looks at what men have done to arrest predatory assaults on women and sees nothing but abysmal failure.

Years ago, I interviewed my grandmother shortly before she died. She told me of growing up in rural Arkansas. There were several ways to go home from school. The shortest trail was through the woods. In those woods, there were men, waiting to prey on the children taking that path. God help you if you were late for school, or for getting home, and had to take that path. This was a small town. Everyone knew who the men were in those woods. And they did nothing.

We know who the men in the woods are. There are some things that need to be said here, and I haven’t heard other men say them, so I will.

Women of America, the men of this country have utterly failed you. As one of those men, I can’t express how sorry, how disappointed I am at our failing, at every opportunity, to do the right thing— worse, to aggressively embrace the wrong thing. None of this has been rocket science— we have failed to achieve even the most rudimentary fairness and critical thinking needed to make public policy.

For the women hearing this, I listened to Dr. Ford, and have read legions of posts written by women friends describing horrible acts. I am mortified. I fear for my daughters, and I fear for your daughters, because our male population is a complete train wreck, and, charitably, half of them can’t even see it and actually think this is the way it should be. Most of the other half hasn’t done enough to make things better, and I include myself in that group.


To the men hearing this saying “Not All Men”, I say sit down, son, shut up, and read what the women are saying. Those events happened on our watch, we were the family, the boyfriends, the co-workers, the police, the politicians, the men who chose not to believe, to look away, to not vote, to side with the man. These histories have been there the whole time had we cared to look.

We know who the men in the woods are.

With a Perspective, this is Mike Newland.

Mike Newland is a father and husband, living in Sonoma County.