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Lorena Bobbitt speaks out 25 years later, says 'real story' of her ordeal is about domestic violence

Lorena Bobbitt, who cut off her husband's penis in 1993, tells TODAY that the anguish she went through then — from the painful court trials to the endless late-night jokes — put her on the path to fight for the cause of ending domestic violence.
/ Source: TODAY

For those who remember her name, they nearly always recall why.

Lorena Bobbitt was the young woman who allegedly snapped after years of domestic abuse — and cut off her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife while he slept.

“I don't remember anything, how it happened,” she told NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren in an exclusive television interview.

Not that she wants to remember, she added, “because I will be traumatized again.”

A new Amazon docuseries produced by Oscar winner Jordan Peele takes another look at the story that captivated the world. "Lorena" also examines how her life has changed since that fateful night of June 23, 1993.

“The real story here is about a victim. It's about domestic violence,” said Lorena, who now goes by her maiden name, Gallo.

Her former husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, denied the abuse in court and eventually was found not guilty of marital sexual assault.

In a separate trial, Gallo was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.

Lorena Bobbitt and John Bobbitt
Lorena and John Bobbitt during their court trials after the famous knife-wielding incident.TODAY

But by then, the pair had became the punchlines of countless jokes that focused on what happened between the two and not how it got to that point. Gallo said she hopes the new series, seen by people in the midst of the #MeToo era, will provide a different perspective on the story.

Gallo, who now runs a foundation to help domestic violence survivors, was asked if she feels remorse.

“Oh, my God, how could you regret something that it was not planned?” she said. “You have to understand, I wasn't in my right mindset.”

Today, Gallo lives in the same Virginia community as before, with her longtime boyfriend and a 13-year-old daughter who keeps her busy with volleyball and swim practices.

She said her daughter saw the documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.

"It's incredible. She said, 'Mom, I didn't realize how strong you are.' And I melt," said Gallo, an Ecuador native. "My heart just, you know, melt."

Gallo said she learned to put up with the endless jokes on late night talk shows about her life because she believes it will help raise awareness for domestic violence survivors.

“I believe that this is a gift. And if I can help change a life, then my mission is worth it,” she said.

John Bobbitt had no comment when NBC reached out for a response. But Gallo said he still sends her Valentine’s Day cards, letters and “love notes,” presumably as a way of keeping control over her.

John Bobbitt
John Bobbitt, from Amazon's new series, "Lorena."Lorena" / Amazon Prime Video

Gallo said it took her a long time to understand his behavior during their marriage but she has learned to move on.

"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."

Gallo said her story has definitely taken on new meaning in the #MeToo awakening.

“I think my story, the documentary, will actually push that conversation again on the table and say, ‘Look. Yes it happened 25 years ago. But things are not changing much,” she said.

Gallo said she hopes her story can make a difference and that people can learn from it.

“There is hope. What I went through wasn't in vain, that this is a gift to help others,” she said.