Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Women and Trust

It has been hard to escape recent news reports of women who have been attacked, kidnapped, and/or killed by someone they knew and may have trusted. Like most people, I often feel removed from these stories, because we take for granted that such dastardly crimes could ever happen to us or those in our immediate circle. While we shouldn’t live in fear and paranoia all the time, we should always be aware of our surroundings and the people around us.

I try to follow my instincts when walking and driving through dangerous and isolated places, and if possible I avoid these areas all together. It is bad enough when I hear about women being followed and attacked by strangers as they wait for buses, or walk into their homes, offices, and parking lots, but when I hear about anyone who is killed by those they know, I am always shocked and saddened. In my mind, stories like these all lead to something many of us gives away too freely, and that is trust. Women tend to give their trust to those who haven’t earned it, which I truly believe is a serious flaw with my gender.

Traditionally, women have been taught to give more than they get, to put others’ needs ahead of their own, and to mistrust their instincts, even if it means putting themselves in detrimental situations. When I hear about women who are attacked by people they know, I wonder if they were aware that something was wrong before the worst happened. Did they ignore their instincts because they convinced themselves they were over-reacting?

I have been guilty of giving my trust away too easily to people who didn’t do anything to deserve it, but thankfully the consequences I suffered were only minor. I have learned from my mistakes, and now I make sure not to trust anyone who makes me feel uncomfortable, even if others around me don’t feel the same way.

Do you agree that women tend to be too trusting?

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