I get the impression that a lot of situations where guys wants their wife/girlfriend etc. to go to the range it is under the headline of 'I just want you to be able to defend yourself' (not saying this is the case for OPs friend).
I could see how that premise conjures up a picture of aggression, with guns being used in violent situations and that this could be a strong deterrent to some people, female or otherwise.
If this is the case I think a better approach would be to introduce the person to the mechanics of shooting in the context of target shooting and the relaxing effect it can have.
In other words, I think that for some people the premise of 'I have to get you to the range so you know how to use a gun to shoot an aggressor before they are able to bash your head in or worse' is offputting and could create an anxiety response that is tied to the perceived situation rather than the guns themselves. If the premise is "Target shooting is very relaxing, why don't you come to the range and try it out" it could create a more inviting context and once the person is used to guns they could 'graduate' to self defense oriented exercises.
That and yes, do not start out with a 30-06 or an AR-10 as the first gun for them to shoot.