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Norway's military cut down on sexual harassment in the most remarkable way

Scandinavia scores again.

Norway military unisex dormsEnlarge
Female soldiers. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It's so crazy, it just might work. 

That's how I imagine the conversation ended when the Norwegian military decided to go ahead with its radical new approach to curbing sexual harassment within its ranks.

What's so crazy? Well, rather than separating men and women, as one might expect in such a situation, the Norwegian military has put them even closer together. Like, in the same room.

Unisex dorms are the Norwegian military's answer to the problem of sexual harassment.

At the military base in northern Norway where they are trying out this new approach, two female soldiers live with four male soldiers in the same room.

And female soldiers say it's already working, according to The Local, an English-language Norwegian news source.

Rather than highlight gender differences, sharing a room seems to make them less of an issue. A case of humanizing the "other," if you will.

“You have to be a team here, and then you have to live together in order to be able to trust in one another,” one female soldier told The Local. She called unisex dorms a “damn good idea.”

Women say the shared rooms help them feel like "one of the boys," wrote Ulla-Britt Lilleaas in her report, "The Army: the vanguard, rear guard and battlefield of equality.”

They enter a "common mode where gender stereotypes had disappeared, or at least they were less obvious," Lilleaas wrote.

Now, just because the solution works for Norway doesn't mean it will apply to other countries (the Norwegian military is unique in more ways than one), but it certainly is food for thought.

The US Department of Defense estimates there are about 19,000 sexual assaults in the military per year. Sounds like a problem that needs a radical solution.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/war/military/140326/norway-military-sexual-harassment-norwegian