BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been more than 26 years since Lorena Bobbitt’s story made headlines. In 1989, Lorena, an immigrant from Ecuador, married John Bobbitt a former Marine. At first things were good but she says that didn’t last very long.
“We were dating. The relationship was good,” Lorena told the I-Team. “I never saw the red flags. He says was really nice, ah charming. And we did have good times. But eventually it turned out to be a very toxic relationship which escalated to abuse. He basically drove me insane.”
The abuse she says went on for years, until June 23, 1993 when she cut off her husband’s penis after she says he raped her. Doctors were able to successfully reattach it. Twenty six years later she doesn’t remember much about that night.
“I simply snapped. And that was it. The abuse escalated, was not only physical, but it was more mental and isolation. And eventually turned to marital rape. It was traumatic.”
Lorena says the domestic violence part of her story gets lost in the lurid details of the incident – and says, “I was tested by my psychologists, my doctors and I was diagnosed with something called abused woman’s syndrome.”
Vilified during the sensational trial- she was found not guilty of malicious wounding by reason of temporary insanity. She then spent several weeks in a mental hospital.
“They did offer me a plea bargain but I didn’t took (sic) it because for me, it was very important to tell my side of the story. My husband had abused me. My husband did break me. My husband abused me in many ways. I wanted to tell what happened.”
In a separate trial, John, who has always denied the abuse, was found not guilty of marital sexual assault. But, his troubles didn’t end there. Years later, he was arrested for harassing and assaulting two other women and spent time in jail.
As for Lorena, she’s using her platform and infamy to advocate for victims of domestic violence and says her mission has a message.
“To reach to others to tell my story. To tell survivors and people who are in relationships of domestic violence or abusive relationships that there is hope,” she said.
Lorena runs a nonprofit foundation and says shining a light on domestic violence, sexual assault and marital rape is her life’s work.
She speaks all around the world telling her story. She is scheduled to speak at Casa Myrna in Boston Thursday, October 3rd. The event is open to the public.