Friendship Between Men and Women: Safety

By | June 22, 2012

One important topic to address in the conversation of friendship between men and women is that of safety, especially of women. “Worldwide, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her lifetime” (“The Resignation of Eve”, Jim Henderson, pp. 59-60). As men, I believe we need to be aware of this and do things to build a woman’s confidence and sense of safety.

The problem is, it only takes a minority of bad men to do significant harm to women. If only ten-percent of men make inappropriate sexual advances toward women, and assuming they engage in this more than once, we quickly end up with a majority of women having experienced some kind of harassment.

I have only recently begun to imagine the world that women face. I believe it is right and our call as Christians to seek everyone’s good. There is obviously a lot of violence and abuse in the world, and women are all too often the victims. I want to seek to love people, and women are included in this. So I want to do what I can to make the world a better place for women. This certainly begins with learning how I can treat women better myself. But I can’t know what to do unless I listen to women, and in order to do this, some women must be willing to speak.

With the very little I do know, I understand that women have to be (or at least probably ought to be—not all women are) cautious and defensive when beginning to interact with a man they do not know. I believe as a man I should respect a woman’s boundaries and do things to make her feel safe. The idea of course is not to merely give the appearance of being safe, but to actually be a good man.

The problem is, it seems that some women never take down their walls unless pushed to do so to an extent. Do you think this is true or just my impression? If true, how does a good man break through that in a respectable way? Also, I’ve heard that women are often drawn to or excited by danger, and therefore are sometimes attracted to men which are more likely to hurt them. I suppose this isn’t my responsibility as a man, but it is an issue in the relationship between women and men.

I don’t know that I have more to say about this. This is an area which I feel like I need to understand better. So I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

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  • Jim Henderson

    check out The Sacred Friendships Project (google)