4 18. The petitioners referred to the State’s indifference toward violence against women and girls. They said that the indifference was “so great that there are no reliable official data and statistics, and it is nongovernmental organizations, rather, that try to obtain up-to-date and accurate information.”2 According to the petitioners, fear, shame, and impunity continued to be the main factors that deterred women from making complaints and, for that reason, the data collected tended to be insufficient and inconsistent. 19. According to the petitioners, although there had been progress at the statutory level in the fight to eradicate all forms of violence against women, and they cited the law against femicide and other forms of violence against women as an example, that progress had not been backed up with effective public policies and concrete measures to tackle this problem. Although the progress had produced some results, they said that the ineffectiveness in reducing the incidence of violence against women persisted because of the absence of an effective criminal policy. 20. They said that murders of women had increased and worsened in terms of cruelty, and that there were even cases of mutilation and quartering. One peculiar feature of female killings in the country is the way in which the corpses are left, in some cases with their legs apart, nude, or with their underwear torn. According to the petitioners, these are extreme expressions of the sexual nature of the violence perpetrated against women. This situation was no random occurrence, but founded on the patriarchal construct of a woman’s sexual body being men’s property. In this way, the system of oppression is built through violence against their bodies and sexuality. The petitioners noted that in this context the alleged victim was one of 518 women murdered in 2005. 21. The petitioners said that throughout the entire process the family of the alleged victim have repeatedly been made victims of in their long and fruitless quest for justice, arousing in them feelings of anger, impotence, and despair. They say that Dr. Denisse Peña Juárez, a psychiatric specialist who performed an assessment of Mr. Jorge Velásquez in October 2009 at the request of the petitioners, the whole family had the “clinical profile of collateral victims of Claudina Isabel’s violent murder.” 22. They said that time after time, the investigation procedures suggested by Mister Rolando Velásquez in his capacity as co-complainant were carried out after delays or deficiently, resulting in a lost opportunity well as harm to the family caused by the realization of the indifference with which their case was being treated. On a number of occasions they said that they were denied access to information, while on others they were asked to give the investigations time to move forward. However, the petitioners said that whenever Mr. Velásquez stopped going to the Public Prosecution Service, no progress was made with the inquiries. They also said that Jorge Velásquez and Elsa Claudina Paiz Vidal voluntarily visited the offices of the Public Prosecution Service on seven occasions between 2005 and 2007 to offer statements as witnesses, given that they were never invited to come forward. 23. Among other flaws, they mentioned the following: irregularities in processing the crime scene, particularly the failure to protect the crime scene, as well as the fingerprinting of the corpse during the wake. They said that the Public Prosecution Service’s coroner’s report stated that upon arriving at the crime scene the corpse was found covered with a white sheet. The report also said that the corpse had been disturbed before it was examined. 2 Petitioners’ observations on merits. Brief of January 17, 2011.