Lorena Bobbitt: How years of abuse, rape, and sodomy made her cut off husband's penis, psychiatrist explains

'Under the experience of these overwhelming emotions, she attacked the instrument that was the weapon of her torture—that is, her husband's penis'


                            Lorena Bobbitt: How years of abuse, rape, and sodomy made her cut off husband's penis, psychiatrist explains
Lorena Gallo (Getty Images)
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Lorena Bobbitt, who now goes by the name Lorena Gallo, had experienced years of severe torment and abuse at the hands of her former husband, John Bobbitt. She made headlines back in 1993 when she cut off her husband's penis after going through endless mental, physical and sexual torture. Almost 30 years later, Lorena is getting candid on her story in LifeTime's movie 'I was Lorena Bobbitt'. 

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Lorena had also been an executive producer on the movie, which looks at the sequence of events that led up to Lorena's breakdown when she could not take the abuse anymore and attacked John. 

Years of abuse

The two had met in 1988 when Lorena worked as a nanny and at a nail salon. She was also enrolled in Northern Virginia Community College. The two fell in love and had got married a year later and Lorena, an Ecuadorian-born Venezuelan, believed she had landed the American Dream by marrying a Marine lance corporal with a decent house and a decent job. 

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Her fantasy was short-lived and a little into their marriage, John's attitude towards her started to change. He had started to get abusive and soon started to get out of control. John had begun to emotionally manipulate and physically abuse his wife. He would also often forced her to have sex and would rape her, leaving her injured. Lorena also reveled in the documentary that John would often sodomize her which would leave her injured besides other forms of sexual and physical abuse.

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While testifying against John, Lorena shared that she had never given her consent. Witnesses also backed up the abuse allegations and said they had seen Lorena with bruises on her body.

The incident 

When she was finally unable to handle the abuse anymore, she cut off her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife, while he was deep in slumber on June 23, 1993. She had thrown out the body part out of the window of her car. 

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According to Lorena, that night, John had been out drinking and had come home wasted. He had then violently raped her. Lorena went to the kitchen to get some water to drink when she noticed a knife on the counter and seized it. Her mind blanked out after that and she said she has no recollection of the events that followed. 

Trial and psychiatrist assessment

Lorena's trial went on around 12 days while John's was just three days. The jury was not convinced of John's versions of events where he first said Lorena had tried to stimulate him after which he changed his story and admitted they had sex that night but it had been consensual.

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Psychiatrist Dr Susan Feister had been called to court as part of the defense, provided a clinical explanation for Lorena's principle claim she had been overcome by an 'irresistible impulse'. 

According to Dr Feister, Lorena, who was raped by her husband, was depressed, traumatized and experienced panic attacks. The incident was due to an "acute deterioration" of Lorena's mental state. "Under the experience of these overwhelming emotions, she attacked the instrument that was the weapon of her torture -- that is, her husband's penis," Dr Feister had testified. 

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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.

Where are they now?

Lorena now uses her maiden name Gallo and lives in the same Virginia community she did before. She lives with her long-time boyfriend and her teenage daughter. She also runs a foundation to help domestic violence survivors. John Bobbitt currently lives in Las Vegas and still maintains his innocence. 

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'I was Lorena Bobbitt' will release on LifeTime on May 25 at 8 pm ET.