Hi Damien

I, too, long for the day when men are treated as equal to women - with equal access to free services and where society unites behind a campaign that says "NO To Violence" and does not say 'nor to violence against women'.

As a Registered Nurse working in Operating Theatres, I have seen first hand the pain that you so eloquently describe when I have had to deal with the male partners of women coming to the theatres I've worked in; Women who are undergoing surgery to deal with miscarriages and pregnancies that do not end with a living baby (terminations and still born).

Information from the Australian Federal Government a few years ago showed that several million dollars was returned to the Govs coffers - money that had been set aside for the provision of free counselling for women who had (for whatever reason) undergone an abortion. During that same period not a single cent had been allocated to provide counselling support for the male partners of these women.

My observation is that the psychological damage to men is every bit as profound as that of women yet we are expected to suck it up, build a bridge and get over it.

I spoke recently with a couple whose unborn had died and needed to be surgically removed (please forgive me for being clinical). They were both gutted but I was able to spend a bit of time with them and suggested a couple of things that I know have helped others.

First I suggested that they acknowledge their right to grieve the loss of the child and all the promise that that life had held.

I suggested that they perform some form of rite or ceremony. I suggested that they write the unborn a letter telling of their love and what they had hoped for and then, maybe, taking that letter to a favourite spot and ceremonially burning the letter.

The husband valued the opportunity to have a shoulder to cry on while his wife was under the anaesthetic - he, too, had no control over what was going on.

I don't know how they got on but I will never forget the look of gratitude that his wife showed me when she came round from the anaesthetic.

Damien, I know that I am in the minority in being forthright enough to meet grieving dads (and expectant dads) at their point of need when our paths cross.

Together you and I can add our voices to those other guys who know that the inequality of treatment of the genders is not right and that we are prepared to speak up about it. And, of course, I mean that men are the ones who are bearing the brunt of the mistreatment - as you say, not just by the media but by society as a whole.


I endured all my yesterdays. I prevail in all of my todays. I exercise my right to be able to enjoy my tomorrows. I choose not to do it alone.