"All the Time. Every Day."

Surviving Street Harassment in Mexico City

“Speaking with women, there wasn't one who hadn't suffered some kind of various, different aggression, from the tiny aggressions to things that are truly vile [said] to adolescents, like, ‘Now that you finally have boobs, I can suck on them.’”
Maricela Contreras, 52, head delegate of Tlalpan, the largest borough in Mexico City, and an activist against street harassment.

Last September, Fusion commissioned artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, 29, to travel to Mexico City and create an installation of her highly-acclaimed art project protesting street harassment, “Stop Telling Women to Smile.” Fazlalizadeh’s visit to Mexico was her first to the country; it was also the first time the STWTS project — for which Fazlalizadeh papers city streets with hand-drawn portraits of women pushing back against their street harassers — had ever been created and then exhibited outside of the United States.

Fazlalizadeh and Fusion editor Anna Holmes settled on Mexico City because they wanted to amplify the voices of Mexican women who are challenging the ways in which their communities turn a blind eye to harassment and violence against women. “I wanted to find out, what do women in Mexico City go through?” says the NYC-based Fazlalizadeh. “What are their experiences? What are their stories? How’s what they experience different from what I experience? How can I reflect those differences in these pieces?”

Street harassment, also known as "acoso en las calles," is an enormous problem in Mexico City and the country as a whole, where rates of sexual violence against women are some of the highest in the world. In Mexico, as elsewhere, says Laura Martinez, director of the Association for the Integral Development of Raped Persons, female bodies are seen as objects, as “something a man can have access to, even if the woman doesn’t want”; a United Nations report in 2010 ranked Mexico number one globally in sexual violence against women, estimating that 44% of females have suffered some sort of sexual violence, from groping to rape. The situation is so bad that Mexico City offers female-only cars on the city’s subways and, in 2008, introduced female-only buses, painted the color pink.

The title of this interactive comes from commentary by Gabriela Duhart Herrera, Director of Atrévete DF, the Mexico City chapter of Hollaback!, an organization founded in 2005 to protest the verbal and sexual abuse of women in public spaces. The interactive tells both the story of Tatyana’s trip and the experiences of the dozens of Mexico City women - students, mothers, politicians, even a police officer - who shared their stories with her. There are also a number of male perspectives on display. (“Here, all the men do it,” said one young man about street harassment.)

Directly above, you’ll encounter 76 short stories of the individuals who wanted to speak out about their experiences with street harassment. Further down, video and still photographs document the six days Fazlalizadeh and Fusion producers spent in the capital meeting, drawing, printing, posting, and in a few cases, avoiding local law enforcement officers and late summer storms. “It was an entirely new experience,” Fazlalizadeh says. “I feel like people kind of have to warm up, because this is kind of private issue that women I don’t think talk about that much outside their group of friends or whoever. But I felt like here, [in Mexico City], people jumped right in.”

“I work out because I like to work out. It’s not for you. What I’m wearing? It’s for me.”
Laura (pictured), 24
“When I walk, I see men, seeing me, and that gets me really nervous. And if you say something, you're the bad one.”
Ana, 27

Local industrial designer Ingrid Rendón de la Torre helped convene a meeting with dozens of women in Mexico City’s Cuauhtémoc neighborhood, where stories were shared and tears were shed.

“I know that you would do it for free, but I will pay you to suck me off.”
as told to Adriana, 23

Dozens of Mexico City women shared their stories with the Stop Telling Women to Smile crew, as seen in this quick-cut video of the sorts of catcalls (“piropos”) they hear on a daily basis.

“People have asked, ‘Was there one thing that happened that made you start this project?’ And there wasn't. It's the sheer fact that it happens all the time.”
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Tatyana explains how the Stop Telling Women to Smile artwork goes from pencil portrait to gigantic poster.

A timelapse video of Tatyana as she draws a portrait of Yucari Millán Horita, an art historian; posters of Yucari began to appear around Mexico City the following day.

The STWTS crew hit close to three dozen locations around Mexico City over the course of the six-day trip. Click on each point on the map below for additional materials, including still images and videos.

“There have been women [fighting] against street harassment since forever here in Mexico but I think that for a couple of years now, this dialogue has been reignited. It’s something that happens all the time. Every day.”
Gabriela Duhart Herrera, 26, Hollaback! Mexico

Tatyana reflects on the experience as she heads out of Mexico City.

“Because I love and respect myself, I will not allow you to treat me like this.”
Nuria, 31

Call to

Tell us your stories about street harassment by tweeting or Instagramming your thoughts, images and videos using the hashtag:



Fusion Interactive Team


Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Executive Producer

Anna Holmes


Diana Oliva Cave

Film production

Felipe Ibarguen


Felipe Ibarguen, Sergio Briseño, Diana Oliva Cave

Still photography

Anna Holmes, Diana Oliva Cave, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh


Abigail Sandoval, Benjamin Nava


Clara Lucio

Special thanks also to Mara Farina, George Lansbury, Ulises Escamilla Haro, Yucari Millán Horita, Emmanuel Audelo Enríquez, and Habitajes, Center for Actions and Studies in Public Space.