Lorena Bobbitt's story is one that captivated an entire country when it unraveled in 1993. And now, with a new Amazon Prime documentary yielding her name, she's about to be thrust into the spotlight once more. Recent interviews with Lorena Bobbitt show that she's not afraid of revisiting the night that changed her life — instead, she hopes her journey helps other women who might be looking for a way out of bad relationships.
Bobbitt, who now goes by her last name, Gallo, is often remembered in simplified terms — she's the woman who cut off her husband's penis with a knife while he slept in their bedroom. According to Rolling Stone, Gallo testified in court that her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, had allegedly come home drunk earlier in the night and raped her, though John alleged that the sex was consensual. “It was survival. Life and death. I was fearing for my life," Gallo said, per the outlet.
According to Vanity Fair, John Bobbitt and Gallo were both acquitted of their respective charges that followed — he of marital sexual assault, and she of malicious wounding due to temporary insanity. John's penis was also reattached, and he would go on to use the experience to his advantage in the adult film industry.
Following the trial, Gallo headed to a psychiatric hospital, where she was released 45 days later after doctors decided she wasn't a threat. She and John divorced, and she began to make a new life.
Gallo sat down with the New York Times in late January, and the frustration she still feels about the media's focus on the body part she attacked was palpable. “They always just focused on it," she said. "And it’s like they all missed or didn’t care why I did what I did." Gallo told the Times that following the trial, she returned to her job as a manicurist where conversation with clients would reveal they were also victims of domestic abuse. She hopes to one day open her own shelter.
When asked if she regretted attacking John, Gallo told the Times that the question is difficult because she wasn't in her right mind. "How can you regret something you didn’t mean to do?” she said. "To me, regret is ‘Oh, I bought a black car instead of a red car’ when you don’t choose right, I wasn’t in my conscious mind.”
Gallo was often painted as simply an unstable, violent woman — not a woman who snapped after years of alleged abuse. “I was the subject of so many jokes in the ’90s and to me it was just cruel,” she said in the same Times interview. “They didn’t understand. Why would they laugh about my suffering?” But she said now, she's come to accept the way things are, and sees it as a worthy price to pay for her cause. "I’ll put myself through the jokes and everything as long as I can shine a light on domestic violence and sexual assault and marital rape."
Gallo's mission seems clear from the public remarks she's given ahead of Lorena's debut. “The real story here is about a victim. It's about domestic violence," she told the Today Show. Hopefully, the documentary will answer even more questions about how Gallo's managed to move forward after that fateful night.