According to the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993), “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which has led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men. 14
In most places, men possess more economic, political, domestic, and overall decision making power than women. Research has shown that violence is instrumental in maintaining control of that power. More than 90 percent of "systematic, persistent, and injurious" violence is perpetrated by men. 15
The deep interplay of gender, power and violence is far too complex to adequately unpack in this guide. However, understanding, on a basic level, the fact that violence follows power in a social context, is a building block to being able to adequately address it from a personal and programmatic perspective. It is important to recognise that men and boys also experience violence, the impact of which can be devastating to individuals and groups. However, because of the uneven impact of gender-based violence on women and girls and the nature of this guide, our focus will be on females.
14 . "A/RES/48/104. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women"(1993). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/48/a48r104.htm
15 . Kimmel, M.S. (2002). Gender Symmetry in Domestic Violence: A Substantive and Methodological Research Review. Violence Against Women, 8, 1332-1363. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=198004