A worldwide problem is the physical and/or sexual assault of women. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that about one-third of the women in the world have been physically or sexually abused.

Another finding in the study was that 40 percent of women killed worldwide were slain by an intimate partner, and being assaulted by a partner was the most common kind of violence experienced by women. The study found that 30 percent of women worldwide are victims of domestic or sexual violence by a partner.

The study covered the years of 1983 to 2010. Domestic violence against women is most common in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The rate in those countries is 37 percent. In North and Latin America the rate is 23 percent. In Europe and Asia the rate was reported at 25 percent. According to the United Nations, more than 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime.

The report said screening for domestic violence should be added to all levels of health care, such as obstetric clinics. Unfortunately, many women do not report being assaulted, mostly out of fear.

We don’t live in a civilized world. These figures are shocking. Domestic violence is a criminal act and should be treated as such. The 23 percent rate in America should not be tolerated, but more women need to report that they have been assaulted by their partner. Why some women go back to a partner who has physically or sexually assaulted her is difficult to understand. If domestic abuse occurs once, it’s likely to happen again.

In many cases children also are the victims when domestic violence occurs. It’s only going to be curbed if women report the assaults, better screening is conducted and there is prosecution, with appropriate punishment imposed when there are convictions.