This Day In History: June 23

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On June 23, 1993 Lorena Bobbitt chops off the penis of her sleeping husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, with a kitchen knife. She flees their home, tossing the severed organ from her car window as she drives away.

Bleeding profusely, John had a friend drive him to Prince William Hospital in Manassas, Virginia. Meanwhile, police officers went searching for the severed organ. After speaking with Lorena, they found it in a field across from a 7-Eleven convenience store. They reportedly put it on ice from the store, wrapped it in a hot-dog bag and rushed it to the hospital. A team of surgeons managed to reattach it in a nine-and-a-half-hour operation.

Bobbitt would later demonstrate how well he’d healed by appearing in several pornographic films.

After the attack, Lorena Bobbitt, then 24 and an immigrant from Ecuador, alleged that her 26-year-old husband had raped her earlier that night and subjected her to years of abuse during their marriage. He was later tried for marital sexual assault but acquitted by a jury. She was tried for malicious wounding and also found not guilty, in her case by reason of insanity. She was committed to a psychiatric hospital for observation and released after 45 days.

The couple’s made-for-the-tabloids saga would inspire countless newspaper and magazine articles, multiple television documentaries and tasteless jokes for decades to come.

The couple divorced in 1995.

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