John and Lorena

Almost 30 years ago, we were introduced to a couple who will remain infamous for the unique case that we look at today. It’s not every day that you hear of a woman who chooses to cut off her husband’s penis. But that is exactly what Lorena Bobbitt did to her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt.

Even today if you asked anyone who is old enough to remember the case, who Lorena Bobbitt is, they will most likely say it’s the woman who cut off her husband. Literally. But there is more to the story than just an amputation of a limb.

The incident took place on June 23, 1993. John returned home from work and raped his wife. Afterwards he fell asleep. Lorena claims that she got up for some water, and while in the kitchen she grabbed an 8-inch carving knife and then returned to the bedroom, pulled back the sheet, and cut off his penis.

Afterwards, Lorena left the apartment with the penis and drove away, the eventually threw the penis out of the window into a field. She would alter call 911 and told them what happened and where the penis could be found. And it was located after an extensive search.

The appendage was washed with antiseptic, packed in saline ice, and eventually would be reattached to John, after a nine-and-a-half-hour operation. John would use his 15 minutes of fame and star in two pornographic films in the 1990’s and accumulate a record for abuse and other criminal convictions.

Lorena was arrested that night of June 23 and would tell the police that “He always have orgasm, and he doesn’t wait for me ever to have orgasm. He’s selfish.”

The trial would reveal more details of the Bobbitt’s short marriage. Lorena claimed that John sexually, physically, and emotionally abused her during their marriage. He was unfaithful to her and forced Lorena to have an abortion. All of this treatment caused Lorena to “snap”. She was already suffering clinical depression and PTSD due to the abuse.

The prosecution and the defense conceded that John had a history of abuse towards his wife and that this abuse was the factor that led the assault on John. The defense emphasized that Lorena’s actions were a mix of self-defense and temporary insanity. She was living in fear of him and the threats he told her.

After seven hours of deliberation, Lorena was found not guilty due to insanity. She would not be held liable for her actions. John would be later acquitted of marital sexual assault. In 1995, after six years of marriage, John and Lorena finalized their divorce. 

After the Trial:

John went on to perform in two adult movies one in 1994, John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut, and the second in 1996, John Wayne Bobbitt’s Frankenpenis. These were attempts to make money, and other ventures failed to be profitable for him.

Lorena reverted back to her maiden name. In 2007 she was working in Washington DC and also founded Lorena’s Red Wagon, which helps prevent domestic violence through family-oriented activities. She also was in a long-term relationship with a man, and they would eventually have a child together.

On a positive note, the case has brought attention to the issue of domestic violence and marital rape. The names of John and Lorena Bobbitt have become comedic fodder and synonymous with penis removal.

Lorena has said this about the incident and John himself: “I don’t live with a grudge. In order to for me to move forwards, I have to be happy with myself. And one of the things that I have to understand is learn to forgive,” she said. “And I forgive him. But I never forget what he did to me.”

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