By Greg Evans & Marilyn Roustand
“I like to support as much as I can with my tiny actions, and in the future, no matter what job I have, I’d like to have a bigger impact on Mexican society and try to help end the misogynistic behavior.” – Marilyn Roustand
“To be a woman is very dangerous in Mexico. These past few years have been hard for Mexican women. The machismo culture in Mexico is affecting women’s lives and it is something that is on my mind all the time,” Marilyn Roustand says. She smiles warmly but there is a noticeable concern in her eyes as she reflects on the conditions back home. “It is heartbreaking,” she says almost in a whisper.
Arriving from the bustling mega-metropolis of Mexico City boasts a population hovering close to 22,000,000 and settling in the rural rolling green hills of East Tennessee, Marilyn experienced a healthy dose of culture shock. The food was different, the language, the weather, the small-town life…everything. “At first the hardest part about the transition was understanding the southern accent,” Marilyn says with a chuckle. “And the cold, when I first came it was spring and was so chilly.” But she came to America to grow as a person and to use her talents to eventually help deal with real-life issues back home.
Marilyn is a business major with a focus on economics and a minor in mathematics at King University. Along with her interest in earning a living at business, is her passion for women’s rights in her home country of Mexico; a pursuit of cultural, social, economic, and political equality in a society that is overtly male-dominated. “In the 21st century to be a woman in Mexico is dangerous. It is something that is on my mind the whole time. I went to one protest in Mexico City when I was there for a break, it was heartbreaking and at the same time so empowering to see the unification of women,” Marilyn says of the continuous struggle that is occurring in her homeland.
Violence against women in a society know for its machismo culture is not spot news, it has been an ongoing problem for generations, and it continues to be a problem even now in the modern age. It is one that needs to be out in the forefront of people’s minds. Marilyn says, “Oppression has always been there but now it is not hidden anymore. The exposure is key. Something that I noticed is how social media has helped the spreading of information; back in the past all the exposure of information was controlled by the government but now with social media, we have access to both sides of the story.”
Though Marilyn is a star tennis player who will no doubt be successful in whatever course of business she decides to pursue, her passion remains equality for women in Mexico. “I like to support as much as I can with my tiny actions, and in the future, no matter what job I have, I’d like to have a bigger impact on Mexican society and try to help end the misogynistic behavior.”
There is a man in her life though that has influenced and inspired her and someone she sees as her greatest role model, and that is her father. A boy growing up hard outside Veracruz in the eastern Mexican jungles, at the tender age of fourteen, he ran away from a tough home life and landed in Mexico City. There he started a new life – he had no money and nowhere to turn, and instead of letting the world walk all over him, he persevered through hard work, dedication, and a belief in himself, eventually becoming a prominent doctor.
Through hard work and focus and never quitting, anything is possible, and Marilyn lives her life with this affirmation. Due to the excessive violence toward women and those that protest the mistreatment of women, her parents have been anxious about her participation, but Marilyn still does what she can to help promote parity.
“The more I think about my generation, I realize how open-minded they are, especially women. It is a motivation for seeing younger women wanting to be involved. It is impressive how inspired the younger generations are and how brave.”
In March of 2020 thousands of women went on a nationwide strike in protest of the violence against women. Contemporary Mexican artist Lorena Wolffer said, “It’s no longer possible to continue living in a country where a woman can be murdered in a brutal way, without any consequence.”
Marilyn encapsulates the courageous, and forward-thinking leader that is so representative of this next generation of young women. She is unafraid to challenge the status quo, standing up for the rights of the oppressed in a society where violence and fear tactics are routine, and the silent voices suffer alone. It is shining stars like her that change the world.
By Greg Evans & Marilyn Roustand for The Mazatlan Post
Greg was born in 1978, he is a journalist and holds degrees from NYU and East Tennessee State University. He has contributed to numerous publications in Mexico, the United States and England. He is also the author of nearly one hundred maxims that have been published worldwide and quoted by numerous companies including Crossfit, Brides.com, Southern New Hampshire University, Mercedes Benz, Boston Business Journal, and more.
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