John and Lorena Bobbitt
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John Wayne Bobbitt (born March 23, 1967 in Buffalo, New York) and Lorena Bobbitt (née Gallo, born October 31, 1970 in Bucay, Ecuador) are a former American couple, married on June 18, 1989, whose relationship made world-wide headlines in 1993 when Lorena cut off her husband's penis with a knife while he was asleep in bed. The penis was subsequently surgically reattached.
The incident occurred on June 23, 1993, in Manassas, Virginia, and the legal case surrounding the incident subsequently took place throughout 1993–94.
Lorena claimed in a court hearing that after coming home at night on June 23, 1993, her husband cheated on her. At some point after her husband had come home and gone to sleep, Lorena got out of bed and went to the kitchen. Grabbing a knife, she entered their bedroom, where John was sleeping, and removed the entire penis at its base.
After this, Lorena left the apartment with the severed appendage and drove away in her car. After a while, she opened the car window and threw it into a field. After realizing the severity of her crime, however, she stopped and called 9-1-1. John's penis was found after an exhaustive search, and it was reattached in the hospital where he was being treated. The operation took nine and a half hours.
Arrest and trial
Lorena was taken into custody. When she was arrested the night of June 23, she told the police, "He always have orgasm [sic], and he doesn't wait for me ever to have orgasm. He's selfish." This conversation with Detective Peter Wentz was tape-recorded and the transcript was read later in the trial by Mary Grace O'Brien, the Prince William County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney prosecuting Lorena.
During the trial, the couple revealed details of their volatile relationship and the events leading up to the assault.
Lorena stated that John sexually, physically, and emotionally abused her during their marriage. She said that he flaunted his infidelities, and had forced her to have an abortion. Her defense attorneys, which included well known defense lawyer Blair D. Howard, maintained that his constant abuse caused her to eventually "snap" as she was suffering from clinical depression and a possible bout of post traumatic stress disorder due to the abuse. John denied the allegations of abuse; however, when he was cross-examined by Howard, his statements often conflicted with known facts, severely weakening the prosecution's case.
Lorena testified that John had raped her and physically battered her on multiple occasions prior to the evening of the severing of his penis, that they lacked financial stability, and that he stole and spent her earnings. Both the prosecution and defense sides conceded that he had demonstrated a history of abuse toward her, and that this abuse created a context for the assault. Expert witnesses "for both the prosecution and the defense testified that he had mentally and physically battered her, that the abuse was escalating, and that by 1993 she lived in constant fear of him." One expert witness testified, in accordance with a defense strategy that emphasized her action as being a mix of self-defense and temporary insanity constituting an "irresistible impulse" due to the history and pattern of abuse and rape, that "Lorena believed and was immobilized by John's threat 'I will find you, whether we're divorced or separated. And wherever I find you, I'll have sex with you whenever I want to.' " John Bobbitt was later acquitted of rape.
He had multiple versions of what had happened that evening in question, relating at various times to police and to the court that "they had not had sex, that Lorena had tried to initiate sex but he had been too tired, that they had had sex but he had slept through it, and that the sex had been consensual."
After seven hours of deliberation, the jury found Lorena not guilty due to insanity causing an irresistible impulse to sexually wound John. As a result, she could not be held liable for her actions. Under state law, the judge ordered her to undergo a 45-day evaluation period at Central State Hospital, located in Petersburg, Virginia, after which she would be released.
In 1995, after six years of marriage, John and Lorena divorced.
After the incident, John attempted to generate money from his renown by forming a band, The Severed Parts, to pay his mounting medical and legal bills, though the band was unsuccessful and failed to generate enough money. He would later appear in two adult films. In September 1994, he appeared in the adult film John Wayne Bobbitt: Uncut, in another attempt to make money. In 1996, he appeared in another adult film, Frankenpenis (also known as John Wayne Bobbitt's Frankenpenis).
In 1994, he was charged with striking Kristina Elliott, a 21-year-old former exotic dancer he met while in Las Vegas on a publicity tour. On August 31, 1994, he was convicted of battery and sentenced to 15 days in jail (75 percent of the original 60-day sentence was suspended). "I firmly believe you have an attitude problem", justice of the peace William Jansen told Bobbitt. "Your attitude problem is caused by your drinking."
On August 10, 1998, he appeared on the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw television program, where he saved the porn star character Val Venis from being castrated by shutting off the lights in a locker room, allowing Venis to escape his assailants. Not long after, he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he worked as a bartender, limo driver, mover, pizza delivery driver, and tow truck operator. He also had a stint serving at a wedding chapel as a minister of a Universal Life Church there.
In 1999, Bobbitt received probation for his role in a theft at a store in Nevada. In 2003, he was sentenced to prison for violating his probation for the 1999 theft after he was arrested on battery charges involving his then wife Joanna Ferrell. He was again twice arrested on charges of battery against Ferrell in 2004 and that same year he filed for divorce under the name John W. Ferrell, which he had been using during his marriage with Ferrell.
After the trial, Lorena attempted to keep a low profile and reverted to the use of her maiden name, Gallo. In December 1997, she made news when she was charged with assault for punching her mother, Elvia Gallo, as they watched television. She was eventually found not guilty of assault and her mother continued to live with her. In 2007, she was working at a beauty salon in Washington, D.C. and in the same year founded Lorena's Red Wagon organization, which helps prevent domestic violence through family-oriented activities.
In June 2008, she appeared on the CBS News program The Early Show, where she talked about her life since the incident. In the interview, she said that she was in a long-term relationship with Dave Bellinger and that they had a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. In a 2009 appearance on Oprah, she said that if she could take anything back, she would never have married John.
Joint public appearance
Although Lorena told Oprah Winfrey in April 2009 that she had no interest in talking to John, they appeared together on the show The Insider in May 2009. It was their first meeting since their divorce. On the show he apologized to her for the way he treated her during their marriage, and she claimed that he still loved her because he continued to send her Valentine's Day cards and flowers.
The Bobbitt case brought attention to the issue of domestic violence. Within days of the incident, anti-domestic violence advocates and some feminist groups rallied around Lorena, citing the alleged continuous abuse she suffered at the hands of John that caused her to attack him, albeit in an unusual and violent manner.
Media attention surrounding the case resulted in national debate and also sparked a flurry of jokes, limericks, T-shirt slogans, advertising gimmicks and an urban legend that Lorena had later been killed in a car accident because "some prick cut her off". The incident was quickly adapted and parodied as a low-budget feature film called Attack of the 5'2" Women. In the 1999 film Fight Club, the character Tyler Durden comments that although the main character's house has been blown up, "You know, man... it could be worse, a woman could cut off your penis while you're sleeping and toss it out the window of a moving car", referencing the Bobbitt case. The incident is also mentioned in the "Weird Al" Yankovic single "Headline News". The second episode of the NBC sitcom NewsRadio referenced the case in its main plot.
Shortly after the incident, episodes of "Bobbittmania", or copycat crimes, were reported. The name Lorena Bobbitt eventually became synonymous with penis removal. The terms "Bobbittized punishment" and "Bobbitt Procedure" gained social recognition. The term "bobbittize" also entered medical literature. The Bobbit worm, which attacks its prey with scissor-like jaws, is named after the case.
- Catherine Kieu
- Eunice aphroditois ("Bobbit worm")
- Lin and Xie case
- Penis transplantation
- Penis removal
- Sada Abe
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later referenced in Past Inductions
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- Current Med Talk: A Dictionary of Medical Terms, Slang & Jargon Appleton & Lange, 1995 – Medical – 984 pages, by J.C. Segen, "bobbittize' A highly colloquial term for the performance of an unscheduled penectomy outside of a hospital or other health care environment, using suboptimal equipment (e.g. 12-inch kitchen knife), and in absence of known medical indications of 100 bobbitizations' documented" .. "genital mutilation: the destruction or removal of a portion or the entirety of the external genitalia, which may occur in the context of a crime of passion (see Bobbittize) or as part of a religious right (see female circumcision)" .. "recovery of sexual function requires microsurgical techniques that allow the sewing of vessels and nerves of 1 mm or less; chilled on ice; a severed penis is thought to be capable of surviving up to 18 hours prior to reattachment (New York Times 13 July 1993; C3) see Bobbittize"