It’s been 30 years since Lorena ‘Bobbitt’ Gallo cut off her husband John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis and threw her out of her car window in a desperate act of self-defense after he raped her.
Thirty years later, Lorena stands by her decision and says she has no regrets.
It was a crime that attracted worldwide attention with ‘Lorena Bobbitt’ becoming a household name and the couple’s story becoming a cruel punchline. But Lorena, now 54, who goes by her first name Gallo, said her story is no joke, it’s her life.
‘I believe people’s views on domestic violence have changed over the years,’ she told Newstimesuk.com.
‘With the advancement of technology and how news is disseminated through different sources, it has helped people understand its importance and they don’t see it as a punchline.’
On June 23, 1993, Lorena, then 24, cut off her husband’s penis while he slept while she said he tortured and raped her. He then drives off and dumps the ditch in a field before calling the police and admitting what he did.
Authorities were able to identify John’s gender after Lorena described the correct position, and he was reunited with it after 10 hours of surgery.
It’s been 30 years since that fateful night on June 23, 1993, when 24-year-old Lorena ‘Bobbitt’ Gallo cut off her husband John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis in a desperate act of self-defense.
Lorena Bobbitt gained widespread worldwide attention in 1993 after her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, cut off his penis after she raped him.
Lorena uses this kitchen knife to dismember her husband after she claims he raped her.
Lorena’s ex-husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, meanwhile, maintains that he did not abuse or rape her when he cut off her penis 30 years ago.
Lorena was charged with malicious wounding. At his trial, he took the stand and was later acquitted by reason of temporary insanity. Instead he was sent to a psychiatric hospital where he was discharged after a month.
John Wayne was accused of marital sexual abuse. In a 1994 trial, he was acquitted and continues to maintain his innocence.
‘Nobody has ever investigated my story property and got an accurate report. Pretty much everyone gets it wrong,’ he told Newstimesuk.com this week.
But over the years, a big question has been on many minds – does Lorena regret cutting off her husband’s penis? In 2019, in his first televised interview in years, he gave his answer.
‘Oh God, how can you regret something that wasn’t planned?’ Lorena told TODAY Show.
‘I mean, how can you? You must understand, I was not in my right frame of mind.’
Lorena and John Wayne – who had started a porn career and starred in Frankenpennies – officially divorced in 1995, and Bobbitt moved to Las Vegas in 1997. Lorena lives in Virginia, and has since remarried and has a daughter
Lorena said in an earlier interview that even after 20 years, she continues to reach out and make progress, and even reaches out to her through her charity, which provides emergency shelter and immediate assistance to survivors.
‘He tried to reach out to me through my foundation, and often posted rude comments and bad reviews on my foundation’s Facebook page — signs of being controlling and emotionally abusive after 20 years,’ she told Oprah Daily in 2020.
‘Basically, this guy needs help.’
Lorena told Newstimesuk.com this week that her ex-husband has not tried to contact her in years.
Lorena Bobbitt during her 1994 trial for cutting off her husband John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis
John Wayne Bobbitt is coming to court
A surgeon who performed John Wayne Bobbitt’s sex reassignment in 1993 was Dr. Jim Sehn. He was later seen testifying about the procedure at Lorena Bobbitt’s trial.
In the years following the incident, John Wayne enjoyed his notoriety and began a porn career starring in the Frankenpennies film.
The surgeon who reattached it can be thanked — but 25 years after the incident, Dr. Jim Sehn said he still hasn’t been paid for the procedure. It is unclear if he has been paid since then.
When Bobbitt was taken to the emergency room, Dr Sehn said, she was holding a sheet over her groin and was hoping to perform a perineal urethrostomy, ‘in other words, a conversion to a female plumbing system, which is very short and quick. Operation’.
But, he then found out that the penis was still intact and found where Lorena had thrown it. It got ‘corrupted’ but was good enough to reattach.
It took longer than necessary to retrieve the organ because none of the police who first found it wanted to touch it.
‘No one in law enforcement will touch it. Law enforcement people won’t touch it.
‘They called an EMS squad because they knew these guys always had gloves on and they looked at it, until the ambulance came and the ambulance got the gloves and they finally got the courage to take it off, if you can imagine. That, and take it to 7-Eleven with gloved hands to bag the hot dog on ice.
‘It came, as they say, on ice, and it was cut very recently,’ he recalls.
After reattaching her penis, Bobbitt began a porn career. He had a penis augmentation before shooting his second movie Frankenpennies
Within hours, he and plastic surgeon Dave Berman were reattaching it in the operating room.
‘It took us about nine hours to do the case and it went really well,’ he said, adding that by the end of the process it was ‘pink and doing well.’
Despite profiting from the crime, neither he nor the hospital received any money from Bobbitt for the lengthy process, as he later declared bankruptcy.
‘The other thing that was really frustrating for me was that as soon as John signed up with Media Attorneys, an attorney was hired who immediately took John to the Federal District Court in Alexandria and Chapter 11’ paid off all of his debts.
‘It meant that all the care he received at our hospital – and we’re not a rich hospital, we’re a suburban hospital – all his debts went bankrupt, so even though $6 million was made on porn films, none of that. Those bills for John’s medical care have never been paid.
“The hospital and other doctors and nurses were not given anything,” he said.
In his porn film, Frankenpennies, Bobbitt’s scars appear. Dr Sehn said that when he did not see her picture, he was ‘disappointed’ by it and Bobbitt’s decision to undergo a revised gender reassignment.
‘I was disappointed, I think it was the second porn film, Frankenpennies, that the results of the surgery were seriously damaged by liposuction and some kind of enhancement procedure.
‘I’ve never seen that film, but apparently it created a lot of scar tissue. So it was a mixed progress,’ he said.
In another interview, Bobbitt stated that he would have killed himself if he had been left alone within the first few hours of his gender separation.
‘I was kind of perverted in the worst way a person could be perverted and I was self-made, and I was looking around for something that would end it.’
In 2019, Lorena Bobbitt asked The Today Show how she might regret ‘not having planned anything’ as she reflected on her husband’s penis amputation a few years earlier.
Decades after the event, both Lorena and John Wayne spoke in TV interviews and two documentaries. In Lorena, a 2019 four-part documentary directed by Joshua Roffe and produced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele, they both told their sides of the story.
She said at the time that she initially didn’t want to do the film because everything else in her case always focused on her husband.
People talked about the case less frequently in terms of domestic violence that led to Lorena cutting off her husband’s penis.
‘I was skeptical because until now, (other productions) had always focused on John, on acting, in a very sensational way that ignored what I had to offer and that really upset me,’ he said of the film’s release.
‘I never thought I would repeat my story. That’s why I took the stand. I thought I had a chance to tell what this man had done to me – what this monster had done to me.’
But Lorena said she hoped to steer the story away from past obsessions about her ex-husband’s gendered abuse that led her to cut it in the first place.
‘I knew that the scars would reopen, that I would ache to relive these painful memories that I had practically buried,’ she told AFP at the time.
‘But I did it because I felt it was my duty as a woman, as a mother, as a survivor to use my voice, which many victims of domestic violence don’t have.’
Lorena was filmed by executive producer Jordan Peele just ahead of the Amazon doc’s release
Lorena, who runs an NGO for victims of domestic abuse in Virginia where she lives, initially didn’t want to do the film because everything in her case always focused on her husband.
A practicing Catholic, Lorena has since founded an NGO for victims of domestic abuse and told her daughter – now 18 – her story when she was still very young.
‘He’s a very strong child, very mature,’ she said.
He hesitated to show the girl the movie, which contained some very explicit content. But her daughter ended up watching it anyway.
“He said, ‘Mom, I didn’t know you were so strong,’ and hugged me,” she said.
And because everything she’s done has made her the person she is today, Lorena says she has no regrets.
‘How can you regret something you had no control over? I didn’t want to be in that situation. It’s not something I went looking for,’ she said.
In November 2020, it was revealed that Lorena and Amanda Knox bonded over how they were ‘shamed and humiliated’ in their criminal case and how they were turned into punchlines for entertainment.
The two women headlined a true crime festival in Washington DC that year, Death Becomes Us.
They have each opened up about their individual criminal cases and how their trauma has been exploited for entertainment.
Knox, who was an American exchange student at the time, spent four years in an Italian prison before being acquitted of murdering his roommate.
She became a global tabloid sensation and was nicknamed ‘Foxy Noxie’ after her sexuality came under widespread scrutiny during the 2009 trial.
Amanda Knox (left) and Lorena Bobbitt (right) headlined Death Becomes Us, a true crime festival in Washington, DC.
In an interview with Fox 5 ahead of their appearance at the true crime festival over the weekend, Knox and Bobbitt talked about how their different experiences brought them together.
‘Lorena and I have a lot in common,’ Knox said, adding that their joint appearance at the festival was ‘a historic moment for shamed and abused women’.
‘You don’t see shamed and abused women coming forward to support each other,’ she said.
Knox added that they are reclaiming their narratives and calling out the forces that have turned them into characters that ‘exploit our trauma for profit and entertainment’.
Lorena said that people now knew the truth because they had recovered their stories and told first-hand about their experiences.
‘People expect people like us to crawl under the rocks of our shame. We’re just showing that we’re not the characters you thought we were,’ Knox said.
The two were spotted at the Death Becomes True Crime Festival in Washington DC
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