Featured Storyteller

MEXICO: My Vision for a Safer Mexico City

Rocio Montalvo
Posted October 6, 2021 from Mexico

Rocio Montalvo shares her roadmap for how Mexico City can become a safe place for women to thrive after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I imagine a Mexico where men care for us and protect us, but also recognize our essential role in society and allow us to raise our voices in favor of our rights.

Mexico City has always been unsafe, especially for women. It is common for a woman to think twice about her clothes if she goes out on the street for fear of being harassed. When a woman walks down the street at night, she usually looks back to make sure that no one is following her, or she carries an object for protection should the need arise. She'll try to walk in the opposite direction of cars and to not be distracted by her phone or headphones. She will do anything to be completely aware of her surroundings. In the end, no matter what she wears, someone will whistle at her or shout some unpleasant "compliment" at her. 

The danger, however, does not end when she steps indoors. Between January and June 2021, during the COVID-19 lock down in Mexico City, the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection reported 41,620 emergency calls related to domestic violence incidents. Surely thousands more did not dare to report.

What, then, does the Mexico I imagine after the 2020 pandemic look like?

I imagine a Mexico where women can walk down the street at any time without fear of being harassed, stalked, abused, or even murdered. I imagine a Mexico where men care for us and protect us, but also recognize our essential role in society and allow us to raise our voices in favor of our rights. I imagine a Mexico where women have important roles in politics, in universities, and in business. A Mexico that does not see women as inferior, but as equal in dignity, capabilities, and opportunities.

I imagine a Mexico where violence is never the answer, where women are not afraid to go out on the streets or to return home, safe in the knowledge that they will receive the affection of their families and the rest they so desperately need. I imagine a Mexico where there is true freedom of transit, freedom of thought, and, above all, a Mexico where everyone’s right to live a life free of violence is respected.

How, then, can we make this Mexico a reality?

The problem lies, in large part, in the vision that men have of women, themselves, and their roles in society. Taking care of and protecting women is not the same as limiting them and wanting to subordinate them to the will of men. We must educate men about women’s essential role in society and in their own lives. 

Men must be trained in the healthy expression of their emotions. The concept that men should always remain firm and impassive without showing their feelings should be set aside. It is for this reason that in the face of any displeasure, they end up exploding.

Women cannot continue to be taught that they must remain silent and obey men to get ahead. Instead, we should train women in self-esteem and self-defense, physically and psychologically. From an early age, both men and women must be taught about limits and consent, that they must be attentive to identify violence in all its expressions.

As women, we must encourage companionship and support among all of us. No one is exempt from suffering this violence; therefore, we must always be ready to protect each other, help each other, and not judge each other. We must understand once and for all that the victim is never to blame.

Let's remember this great quote by Brigham Young: “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” That is how important the role of women is in society.


This story was published as part of World Pulse's Story Awards program. We believe every woman has a story to share, and that the world will be a better place when women are heard. Share your story with us, and you could receive added visibility, or even be our next Featured Storyteller! Learn more.


Comments 11

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Oct 06, 2021
Oct 06, 2021

Hi Rocio
Congratulations on your story award. Lovely!
I enjoy your write-ups.

Jill Langhus
Oct 07, 2021
Oct 07, 2021

Congrats on your story award, Rocio! You rock!

Looking forward to seeing what you write about next and where your future takes you, too! XX

Grace Iliya
Oct 07, 2021
Oct 07, 2021

Congratulations Rocio. Keep the dream alive. It will happen
Much love

Oct 07, 2021
Oct 07, 2021

I agree as a Mexicana our culture suffers from the upbringing of Machismo. Our men are set up for failure at such young ages and it lacks from a stem of education. Our parents weren't educated and they raised their boys to be Machistas and in that they don't realize they do more damage than anything. The problems for these men are they are never able to express their emotions or feel the need to seem vulnerable. I pray one day our Latin community can elevate and not teach men to be like this.

Oct 07, 2021
Oct 07, 2021

Wow congratulations Rocio.

May your story bring inspiration to your community.

Shirley Asiedu-Addo
Oct 08, 2021
Oct 08, 2021

May we be safe as women everywhere... Congratulations. More of these great write ups Rocio

Tere López
Oct 09, 2021
Oct 09, 2021

You are a great writer cause you write with your heart, congrats!!

Adriana Leigh G.
Oct 10, 2021
Oct 10, 2021

Rocio, felicidades desde Canada! Your story award is well-deserved! Having lived in D.F. with family still there, I am in solidarity with you, knowing women personally who have experienced violence there, you poetically and clearly get to the roots of gender inequality and violence. This!
"Taking care of and protecting women is not the same as limiting them and wanting to subordinate them to the will of men. We must educate men about women’s essential role in society and in their own lives. " Yes! Keep on speaking and sharing truth. Keep on pushing DF to live to its potential and your vision.

Un abrazo a ti y tu familia Rocio!

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 10, 2021
Oct 10, 2021

Dear Rocio,
Congratulations on your Story Award. Such important information, such an important message. 41,620 emergency calls in just 6 months, countless women who were not able to call, and those familiar ways that as women we all too often have to take precaution walking home alone at night. So true that it is through a different education of men and boys that this acceptance of violence can be changed. The voices of women need to be respected, and men must step forward to speak out. When men step forward together to speak out about respect for women, this can change in one generation. A few have begun, and face ridicule. We need more men to find the courage, and the willingness to let go of the position of superiority. Women like you are blazing the trail in your city and country.

Olanike Adesanya
Oct 15, 2021
Oct 15, 2021

Congratulations, Rocio, on your Featured story, to start with.
Please keep it up.
Truth be told, if you don't know the story, you don't pass a comment about it. I never thought Mexicans (men) were as that b-d.
I am imagining with you my Sister, the Mexico in your dreams.
It is well with Mexico.

Nov 26, 2021
Nov 26, 2021

Thank you Rocio for envisioning a world where men are nurtured to respect and value women. That was not a clear part of my education when I was a boy.
All the games that adults taught me kept score on a win-lose basis. The only way I could win was by making someone else be a loser. This win-lose mindset is useful in competitive contests, but I does not fit in the most important relationships -- parent-child, employee-employer, student-teacher, voter-politician, buyer-seller, or romantic relationships.
Could games that keep score on a win-win-or-lose-lose basis help boys grow up with a more balanced sense of how to relate to girls and women?
Thank you for presenting your vision of a more respectful world.