25 years after Lorena Bobbit cut off her husband's penis, he's a mess and she's stronger than ever

25 years ago Lorena claims to have cut off her husband John's penis in an attempt to save herself from abuse, now she spends a lot of her time advocating against domestic violence.

                            25 years after Lorena Bobbit cut off her husband's penis, he's a mess and she's stronger than ever
Lorena Bobbit (Source:Getty Images)

Around 25 years ago, a case involving a lacerated penis took America by storm. Sides were taken, and the entire nation watched as John and Lorena Bobbitt — who goes by the name Gallo now — battled it out in court.

To mark the 25th anniversary of this bizarre case, Vanity Fair met with the two to check in and see how their lives are going now. Just to refresh your memory, here’s a little recap for you. The story started all the way back in 1987 when Gallo, an Ecuadorian-born Venezuelan, emigrated to the US to fulfill her American Dream. She arrived on a student visa and was enrolled into Northern Virginia Community College and worked at a salon as a manicurist for a woman named Janna Bisutti.

Very soon after she came to the US, she met Lance Corporal John Wayne Bobbitt at a dance hall near US Marine Corps base at Quantico. Sparks began to fly and the two fell in love and got married in 1989. But what began as a strong attraction ended in aggressive fights. On one hand, Lorena blamed John’s abusive behavior; she claims John forced her to get an abortion, engage in anal intercourse, and even beat her from time to time.

John, on the other hand, denies these allegations and blames their fallout on her greed. He said, “Lorena was a good wife a lot of the time. But she was obsessed with having her American Dream, her American Dream, her American Dream — she said it all the time. Janna Bisutti had a big house, a cabin cruiser, a Mercedes. Lorena wanted those things. She just wanted too much, too fast.”

Things worsened after John was discharged from the Marines. The two called it quits and reunited only to decide they were going to separate for good. It was during this rocky period when the couple had finally decided to say their goodbyes that the infamous penis incident occurred. On June 23, 1993, in their home in Manassas, Virginia, Gallo cut off her husband’s penis with a kitchen-knife, while he was deep in slumber.

Gallo testified in court that a few hours earlier her husband had come home drunk and raped her. She then ran away from her home, discarding the mutilated penis on a grassy field, which was recovered by the police and reattached. John claims the Gallo consented to having sexual intercourse and was under the impression that she was trying to make him hard again when he caught her trying to pull his boxers down in the middle of the night.

Gallo said, “I didn’t want to teach him a lesson. No, it was survival. Life and death. I was fearing for my life.” While John had something else to say. “I was leaving her for good,” said John. “It was what my mom said—If she couldn’t have me, no one could. And there was the green card, too. That didn’t come to my mind at the time, but it’s obvious. You have to be married to an American citizen for five years to get one, and we’d only been married for four.”

Both of them were charged and tried in two different cases. John was charged with marital sexual assault and Gallo was charged with malicious wounding. The jury found John to be not guilty. Gallo too was acquitted based on temporary insanity.

Some were content with the verdicts, while some were enraged. Regardless, this case opened up a door for conversation about issues such as gender inequality, domestic violence, and female rage. Issues that were overlooked were right there on the front page of every newspaper.

25 years later, they are living two separate lives, which seem to be quite different from each other. John has been married to divorced several times in the past few years, and he hasn’t quite managed to stay out of the domain of the law and violence. He was convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery against an ex-girlfriend in 1994. He was also charged with battery against his third wife multiple times.

Furthermore, he was found guilty of harassing his girlfriend in 1999. Apart from domestic violence, he also pled guilty for attempted grand larceny of $140,000 worth of clothes. He’s had a couple of odd jobs over the years, primarily in construction. In 2014, he met with a car accident and broke his neck; he has been living on disability ever since. At the moment, he literally spends most of his time looking for buried treasure in the Rockies.

Gallo, on the other hand, seems to be on a different path completely. She became a citizen of the United States and went back to college. She also became the sole provider for her for her parents who moved to the States after her divorce. She was a very proud Hilary Clinton supporter in the 2016 elections.

She has spent a lot of her time advocating; she also started the 'Lorena Gallo Foundation' that aims to prevent domestic violence. She also found true love. She has been married to the same man for 20 years now and even has a family of her own. However, Vanity Fair does mention that Gallo was involved in a case that included her mother. She was charged with battery but was found not guilty.

Though Gallo seems to have resisted the limelight over the years, refusing an offer to model for Playboy for million dollars, she will soon be at the forefront of a four-part docuseries created by Amazon Prime, produced by Academy-Award-Winner Jordan Peele (who also happened to be the writer and director of ‘Get Out.’) “With this project, Lorena has a platform to tell her truth as well as engage in a critical conversation about gender dynamics, abuse, and her demand for justice,” Peele said in a statement in April. “This is Lorena’s story and we’re honored to help her tell it.”