Lorena Bobbitt was known for slicing off her sleeping husband’s penis with a kitchen knife and on June 23, 1993, 23-year-old manicurist, Lorena Bobbitt snapped and within a split-second sliced off her sleeping husband’s penis.

Early hours of that morning, her bar bouncer husband had returned home drunk and allegedly raped her. After the alleged rape, her husband, John Bobbitt, fell asleep in their bed. Lorena jumped off from their bed, ran into the kitchen, grabbed a knife, returned to their bedroom, and sliced off John’s penis all within seconds. As seconds go by an outpour of blood came gushing out on their fresh new bedsheets. Lorena getting scared of seeing a pool filled with his blood storms away from their apartment, runs to her car, and just starts driving. While driving away she realised that her hands were stained in blood and saw the severed penis was still in her hand. Out of shock and not knowing what to do she tossed the severed out of the window. In the moment of realising what she had done she called the police and told them everything. The police arrested  her and took her in for questioning. The police found out the relationship between her John was volatile.

Lorena’s marriage to her husband was simmering with hatred, unthinkable violence, sex, and years of violent domestic abuse.

The court trial started in 1994 where she plead not guilty. She was facing a prison penalty of 20 years and being deported back to Ecuador. Claims were made that Lorena was beat so badly that she looked like a wild animal and John would force her into having sex with him.


Lorena’s criminal defence team argued that she was driven over the edge by being the victim of too many sexual assaults. Her defence team had also provided several statements of complaints of the domestic violence she endured during her 4-year marriage to her husband. One statement proved that John was arrested for hitting Lorena in the face. Her defence team also had multiple witnesses that supported all of her claims and had seen her bruises and swelling all over her face and body.

Lorena’s lawyers kept to the crucial point of argument that she was the victim of constant domestic violence; she was clinically depressed and on the act of slicing off her husband’s penis was in desperation.

Lorena claimed insanity to which the jury found her not guilty and required her to spend 45 days in a psychiatric facility.

John’s penis was found and was successfully reattached in a nine-and-a-half-hour operation after they had found his penis in an extensive search.

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John was found not guilty of sexually assaulting his then-wife. John’s argument was that she attacked him because he told her he was going to divorce her. After his trial, he made a decision to act in porn and capitalised on his events. He has been married three times including the time with Lorena.


Genital mutilation: Section 45  of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), prohibits female genital mutilation and is liable for 21 years. There is no specific legislation that prohibits male genital mutilation. Read our blog on female genital mutilation here.

In Section 54 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), states that anyone that causes grievous bodily harm by any unlawful or negligent act, or omission, causes grievous bodily harm to any person, shall be liable to imprisonment for two years. The commentary that surrounds male genitals falls under the sphere of circumcision.

Mental illness: section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW), provides the court the power to divert the defendant who is suffering from a mental health into the care and treatment of mental health professionals. A person to be eligible under this order must satisfy that the accused is currently or at the time of the offence was cognitively impaired, suffering from a mental illness or suffering from a mental condition for which treatment is available in a mental health facility.

After nearly 30 years Lorena has just premiered, her lifetime movie. You can read her full story here. 

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