“I am not my sister’s keeper, I am my sister.”
Iyanla Vanzant

Shackle
         a pair of fetters connected together by a chain, used     to fasten a prisoner’s wrists or ankles together

         synonyms: restraints, constraints, impediments, hindrances, obstacles, barriers, obstructions

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Shackles can be literal, made from metal and rope. Those used to bind young girls and women sold into slavery. For sex.

Shackles can be societal, the stigma of our upbringing, or social standing. The amount of money we have or don’t, the cars we drive and the neighborhoods we live in.

Shackles can be psychological, the restraints an abuser holds over our heads, keeping us from taking those first steps to freedom. Words used to keep us in our place, from becoming who we truly are and want to be.

Shackles can be racial, the color of our skin oftentimes creating a divide we cannot, or won’t cross.

Shackles can be sexist, perpetrating the myth women are no more than the whole of their bodies and a pretty face. That we don’t measure up to the worth of a man, in the corporate world, in government, in religious circles, because we are too weak, too emotional, too volatile.

Shackles can be religious, relegating women to be lorded over by men, leaving them with no voice in the church. And in religious groups where physical and psychological abuse becomes the norm.

For a lot of us, we’ve been told our entire lives, we have no worth apart from a man. Dismissed because of our sex, unless of course, a man wants that sex. And then are expected to give it regardless of how we feel about doing so.

I want my daughter to live in a world free of shackles. Free of any restraint, hindrance, obstacle, etc., that stands in the way of her living up to her potential. I want her to learn to fight for the rights of her sisters in this country and around the world. I want her to be passionate and fierce, a warrior for herself and for others.

Throughout his life, Jesus stood as the ultimate advocate for women. He created us to fill the void of loneliness. Women were used throughout old testament times to do the work that a man could not, or would not do. He stood with the woman abused, rejecting religious ideals, writing words of freedom for her in the sand. He took water from the woman from the wrong side of the tracks, crossing the racial divide. He revealed himself after the cross, to a woman, trusting her to tell the story of resurrection. 

He broke every shackle imaginable and has given each of us the power to do the same. Women have played an integral part throughout all of history and continue to do so.

We are our sisters. We are warriors, fighters, passionate lovers of all that is right and good. Let’s live free!

 

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