On Monday, May 25, Lifetime is debuting its latest ripped-from-the-headlines original movie with I Was Lorena Bobbitt, which tells the story of the 1993 national news story in which Lorena Bobbitt severed her husband John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis while he slept.
Heres what happened during her trial and why she never did any jail time.
Both Bobbitts Stood Trial
During the trial, Bobbitt alleged that she had suffered abuse at the hands of her husband for years. The defense argued that the trauma coupled with her husband allegedly raping her that night caused her to snap and gave her an “irresistible impulse” to strike back at him, according to the New York Times coverage at the time of the trial.
The jury agreed with the defense and acquitted Bobbitt by reason of temporary insanity. She then had to undergo a psychiatric exam to determine if she was a danger to herself or the public, but afterward, she was released and could seek private treatment. She served no jail time.
John Wayne Bobbitt was also tried in the matter, for marital sexual abuse. He was acquitted of those charges, but the case only pertained to the five days immediately preceding the mutilation. No other allegations of repeated abuse were brought into that trial.
During Mrs. Bobbitt’s trial, several witnesses corroborated her account of marital abuse, and three experts who were all appointed by the court to examine her concluded that she was a battered woman and suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the New York Times.
In 2009, they appeared together on The Insider and John apologized to Lorena, saying, “Sorry about the way I was back then. I was an *sshole … I failed to love you the way I should have.”
In a separate interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lorena said, “Once you are hurt that way and abused mentally, your mind just basically tries to shut down … Every time, he apologized. I went back to the hole and said: ‘Okay, I’m going to save my marriage.’ I’m embarrassed to say I was a victim of domestic violence. I was very, very scared that he was going to do something.”
Bobbitt Helped Tell Her Story on Lifetime
Bobbitt served as executive producer and on-screen narrator for the Lifetime movie. Following the premiere of the film, Lifetime will run a PSA for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence featuring the actors and Lorena Bobbitt, as part of Lifetime’s public affairs campaign, Stop Violence Against Women.
“Lorena Bobbitt became a household name and made tabloid headlines when after years of abuse by her husband, she cut off his penis with a knife in 1993. Now nearly 30 years later, Lorena tells her story, and hers alone, for the first time with Lifetime,” reads the press release. “This fully authorized film, in which Bobbitt serves as an executive producer, follows her journey from a wide-eyed, immigrant bride to a battered wife into an unlikely media sensation. I Am Lorena Bobbitt also documents her ultimately emerging as a strong, thoughtful woman who has devoted her life to advocating for other abused women.”
I Was Lorena Bobbitt premieres Monday, May 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime. It is being rebroadcast May 26 at midnight, May 31 at 10 p.m., June 1 at 2 a.m., and June 6 at 6 p.m.