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Get one in hell

"I'm not more important. I want to live in an equal society, ”writes Hanne Ramsdal, who has created performing arts about her husband's lack of rights as a father. 


2015. I write a chronicle in Aftenposten about the fathers' lack of rights in the case of marital breakdown, based on their own experiences as a divorcee. We live in a time where many people perceive that 50 / 50 is the most common choice for sexual intercourse. But men I know, meet and hear about, and the statistics from the statistics testify to another reality. Solveig Horne proposes amendments to the Children's Act that will strengthen the rights of fathers, and these new bills are being consulted. After the chronicle, I am approached by fathers who are grateful that a woman / daughter is on the field. I discover a whole underworld of fathers sticking their heads against the wall in a system where they are discouraged from going to trial, where coercion sabotage leads to more conflict and even less cohabitation and the only right they have is to pay child support that is triggered by permanent residence at a parent.

2016. Solveig Horne's bill meets with opposition, and I decide to write a stage text on the subject as part of my master's in theater at the Oslo Academy of the Arts. I interview men with less time with the children than they want. They're talking into my dictaphone – and I'm their child, and they're my father. In other words, I am anything but neutral. 'I'm a little relaxed about my son, I'm that. It's just like… it was a long time when I felt like an uncle, »says a father, and I'm ten years left, I find a bracelet under my father's bed in the new apartment where he lives after the divorce, there is almost no furniture there, that's how I remember it, sofa, table, chair, bed, a blanket, TV, and I tell him, and that it's probably my friend's bracelet, I help him away from the situation so he does not have to explain, I develop this smartness which is not smart at all, which I take home with me to mum when the weekend is over, smooth over mistakes she thinks he has made, hide that I look like him, that is that politeness which makes one become indistinct, adaptable and considerate, a dream of a child, so considerate that one can become ruthless by it. And one of the fathers also says the taboo: "Suddenly I do not like my son." Another says: “I hear my mother's voice in my daughter. She says the same things. She entered a different school than we had actually talked about. In the field where the father's name was to be written, there was nothing. Our daughter must have known about it. We went to mediation again. The result was that I lost two days every other week with her. Should only last until this had blown over. "

The only right the fathers have is to pay child support.

       Filmed by: Torbjørn Sundal Holen

I call the stage text "The father", inspired by an embroidery my girlfriend gets from her daughter for Christmas. But in her embroidery it only says "FUCK", with neat cross stitch. She has grown up on a different side of the country than him, and I think that the distance to a parent can be stored in the body. And when you grow up and understand that it was the parent who was rejected, there may still be a part of someone who does not understand, a shadow side that continues to seek rejection.

But what about the other voices? Maternal. Barnas. The bad fathers. How to create something scenically interesting when I have such a clear agenda? Can the performing arts function actionically and at the same time be nuanced or contradictory? Realistic art and theater are often criticized for presenting a reality instead of theatricalizing it.

I decide to be clear. Nothing "on the one hand, on the other." Go so far into the man's perspective that there may be a field of tension in there. And in that I, who initiates the project, who cuts and pastes and manages the anonymous voices in the stage text, am a woman, daughter and mother.

I meet a man who wants to be interviewed and who stands out among the others. He has no children. He says: "It is completely unbearable for me, the idea of ​​having a child and then suddenly that child will be torn away and then I will see it once a weekend or every other week, it is completely impossible to imagine that a husband gets the right of primary care. I have followed a trial closely, someone I know well, mother was violent, think about it, a mother who beats the man in front of the children repeatedly, there is still nothing in the court system that works in his favor. Although he is obviously a good caregiver. But had it been the opposite, it would have been such a damn clear case. There are some fucked up mechanisms here, fucked up is women's ownership of the baby that begins already when the woman is pregnant, and this is not a speech against self-determined abortion, but it's just the logic, that the woman does not need to discuss it with the man. It starts there already, it is a premise that is at the very bottom. "

2017. I choose a choir to perform the text, as a reading. A men's choir. Most do not have children. They look young. Thirty men to represent the anonymized voices from my dictaphone.

I am intimidated by women who believe that we are by nature closer to the child. Is there something wrong with me that does not feel this way?

      Filmed by: Torbjørn Sundal Holen

Frode Thuen in Aftenposten draws in new Swedish surveys that show that children with shared housing are better off, including young children. He is accused of relying on inadequate research. Prosecutors, in turn, are accused of having personal agendas. The children's ombudsman is also for one home for the little ones. There are several factions. I end up in discussions. Being frightened by women who think that we are closer to the child by nature, like the animals in Monica Isakstuen's novel. Is there something wrong with me that does not feel closer to my children than the fathers? It does not matter to them whether they are with their father or with me. I'm not more important. I want to live in an equal society. And the one who is in power in child distribution cases is still the woman. Especially if there is a conflict. And some abuse this, for financial reasons, for personal reasons, under the guise that it is in the best interests of the children. I wrote it in my article from 2015, and I unfortunately write it again.

The day before the show Fa (r) one in May, the debate book was launched Togetherness Sabotage. Norwegian fathers share their stories, at Aschehoug Forlag. Also that a project initiated by a woman.

Also read: The fathers have fought, the mothers are right

Hanne Ramsdal
Hanne Ramsdal
Ramsdal is a writer.

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