'Lorena': The true story of what happened that fateful night when Lorena Bobbitt sliced off her husband's penis

The story of Lorena Bobbitt is one that has tragedy, revenge, a highly publicized trial, and the 'American Dream'


                            'Lorena': The true story of what happened that fateful night when Lorena Bobbitt sliced off her husband's penis

The story of Lorena Bobbitt is one that has tragedy, revenge, a highly publicized trial, and the 'American Dream'. Born in Ecuador in 1969, Lorena Gallo grew up in Venezuela but had always dreamed of moving to the US. Using a student visa as her ticket to the Land of the Free, she arrived at Virginia in 1987.

It was in 1989 that she met her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, who was a 21-year-old Marine from Niagra Falls, New York, at a dance hall close to his base. The couple got married just six months after they met because her visa was about to expire.

When you look at what happened to the couple just five years later, you can tell that the marriage went sour quite early.

Lorena Bobbitt takes the witness stand in her trial for cutting off her husband's penis (Source: Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)
Lorena Bobbitt takes the witness stand in her trial for cutting off her husband's penis (Source: Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)

John wasn't able to find a steady job after he left the Marines so his wife had to support them both as a manicurist and as a nanny for her boss Janna Bisutti's children.

Lorena said that John was very abusive in their relationship. In an interview that she gave to ABC's 20/20 in 1993, she said that the first time her husband punched her was only a month after they got married. The woman also said that John forced her to have anal sex frequently and that when she got pregnant, he made her have an abortion. The couple separated in 1991 but reunited shortly after.

John Wayne Bobbitt points during testimony on the sixth day of his wife Lorena Bobbitt's malicious wounding trial at the Prince William Courthouse in Manassas, VA, 19 January 1994. (Source: Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
John Wayne Bobbitt points during testimony on the sixth day of his wife Lorena Bobbitt's malicious wounding trial at the Prince William Courthouse in Manassas, VA, 19 January 1994. (Source: Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

The couple then decided to split again but continued living in the same apartment together. That's when on June 22, 1993, John went out with his friend Robert Johnston to have a few drinks. He returned to the apartment later that night pretty drunk and recalled that he fell asleep on the couple's bed later after some groping. According to Lorena, that wasn't how she remembered that night and claimed he had raped her.

Lorena could not sleep much that night and then at 4.30 am, in the wee hours of June 23, she went to get a drink of water in the kitchen and spotted a 12-inch knife on the counter. With her mind made up, the abused wife took the weapon back to the bedroom and used it to sever John's penis at the base.

Dr. James T. Sehn holds a photo of the severed penis of John Wayne Bobbitt during the second day of the malicious wounding trial of Lorena Bobbitt in the Prince William Circuit Court in Manassas, VA, 11 January 1994 (Source: Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
Dr. James T. Sehn holds a photo of the severed penis of John Wayne Bobbitt during the second day of the malicious wounding trial of Lorena Bobbitt in the Prince William Circuit Court in Manassas, VA, 11 January 1994 (Source: Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

She then ran out of their apartment, with both the penis and knife still in her hand, and drove to Janna's, who was also her best friend, home.

She told jurors in the court later: "I cut off his penis because he abused me that much. That's what happens when a man pushes a woman so far and so low. I remembered the first time he raped me. I remembered the insults and the bad words that he told me. I remembered every time that he had anal sex with me. He hurt me. I remember everything. Everything."

When Lorena was driving to Janna's house that night, she was suddenly overcome by a sense of panic. She rolled down the window of her Mercury Capri car and threw the severed penis out on a grass verge close to a 7-Eleven store. When she finally stopped her car and took a breath, she called 911 and told them that John was hurt. There were a few hours of confusion after the incident but then Lorena told the police her story of abuse.



The man was rushed to the hospital by his friend Johnston and Janna called authorities and told them where Lorena had thrown the penis. The police were able to find it, miraculously, at about 6 am and proceeded to place it in a hot dog box on some ice from the 7-Eleven close by. Following this, they rushed the severed appendage to the hospital where the urologist and vascular surgeon were able to successfully reattach it. 

Amazon Prime's 'Lorena' is a four-part docuseries on the case that gave rise to the Battle of the Sexes and paved the way for the domestic abuse law. It premieres on February 15.

Lorena Gallo attends the 'Lorena' Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Egyptian Theatre on January 29, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
Lorena Gallo attends the 'Lorena' Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Egyptian Theatre on January 29, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)