John Wayne Bobbitt gives an interview 25 years after his wife famously chopped off his penis

John Wayne Bobbitt spends time at his new house in North Las Vegas, Nevada

John Wayne Bobbitt wants you to know this. He is a good man in a crisis. ‘It’s my military training,’ says the 51-year-old former U.S. Marine. ‘It never leaves you.’

It certainly came to his aid on that terrible night, 25 years ago this summer, when he woke to find his wife Lorena sawing off his manhood with an eight-inch carving knife.

Bobbitt is still, inevitably, remembered for the events of that night, which made headlines around the world, and which he now recalls in eye-watering detail.

At first, the horror and the pain sent him into deep shock, he says. ‘I just wanted to lie back and go to sleep.’ But then his first-aid drills kicked in. ‘Instantaneous response actions! Lifesaving! Apply pressure!’ he barks.

Shortly after he got to his local hospital, police found the missing two-thirds of his penis which his fleeing wife, Lorena, had thrown out of the car window near their home in Manassas, Virginia.

She had called the police, after realising what she’d done, which led to an exhaustive search.

In a miraculous nine-hour operation, urological surgeon Jim Sehn and his team successfully re-attached the organ. ‘He was the most calm guy I’ve ever met in my life,’ said the doctor, recalling the moment he met Bobbitt in the emergency room. ‘He high-fived me and said: “Do the best you can for me, doc”.’

The aftermath was equally traumatic. Bobbitt was warned, quite bluntly, that his member could quite possibly ‘turn black and fall off’ in the days following the operation, a prospect that would have psychologically, if not physically, felled lesser men, but not him.

Oh, come on. You must have been traumatised, I say. ‘Nope,’ says Bobbitt. He believes that he was lucky — lucky! — because he was young, fit and fresh out of the military. ‘I am a United States Marine and we are different. We are highly trained to fight and we are prepared for the worst thing a person can go through. So I was ready. If it was anybody else, some white-collar guy, some banker, some other guy not so well trained, it would have been a different story.

‘It would have been a lot more tragic. They probably would have killed themselves, you know,’ he says.

‘But I am a survivor.’

Is he really? Can he, for example, survive the reawakened interest in his case that the 25th anniversary has provoked?

He is taking part in an investigation about the case by ABC’s 20/20 news show, while Amazon is producing a four-part documentary called Lorena, produced by Oscar-winning Jordan Peele.

In it, Bobbitt’s former wife Lorena Gallo will ‘tell her truth’ in a critical discourse on gender dynamics, abuse and her fight for justice

For Lorena always claimed that she attacked John because he came home drunk and raped her, while he insisted it was an act of vengeance because he was leaving her 

For Lorena always claimed that she attacked John because he came home drunk and raped her, while he insisted it was an act of vengeance because he was leaving her 

For Lorena always claimed that she attacked John because he came home drunk and raped her, while he insisted it was an act of vengeance because he was leaving her. She says their dysfunctional six-year marriage — which ended in divorce in 1995 — was riddled with instances of bullying and abuse.

He says that she — an Ecuadorian immigrant and trained manicurist — was using him to chase her American dream and couldn’t bear to let him go.

‘Basically, she said, if I can’t have his penis, then no-one will,’ he says today.

‘She didn’t want me to be with another woman. If I was going to leave her, abandon her or get divorced, then there would be consequences.’

In the end, both Bobbitts were acquitted of all charges in sensational trials. In November 1993, he was found not guilty of rape and assault, while in January 1994 she was acquitted of malicious wounding by reasons of temporary insanity, and was set free after 38 days in a state mental institution.

So, it’s going to be difficult for Lorena to make any specific allegations about her ex-husband without defaming him. Bobbitt has promised to ‘sue her for unlawful intent’ if she does. He’s already been grumbling about the tone of some of the interviews: ‘I didn’t like the questions they asked me, all about Lorena crying and everything,’ he says.

But in the fevered atmosphere of these #MeToo times, the impulse by some to recast Lorena as the victim has proved irresistible. ‘There should be a #MeToo movement for men because the law is biased towards women,’ says Bobbitt.

‘We could all stand up and say MeToo! I went through that, my girlfriend did this, my fiancee poisoned me, my wife cut my penis off because I filed for divorce. I mean, MeToo, MeToo — let the men do it! Do you agree?’

In the end, both Bobbitts were acquitted of all charges in sensational trials

In the end, both Bobbitts were acquitted of all charges in sensational trials

Well, I . . .

‘Don’t stand up for women because you are a woman. Why stand up for an evil woman? If a woman is evil and she is bad and nasty, why stand up for her?’

I, um . . .

‘Anyway, I am not that worried about being victimised again. I can handle that. I can conquer the world.’

Today, Bobbitt lives in a rented house in north Las Vegas, which he shares with his miniature chihuahua, Cupcake.

Girlfriend Joni, who sells dresses, is a regular visitor.

He has a jeep and a Harley-Davidson motorbike in his three-car garage, both with number plates that pay tribute to President Trump. ‘I get a lot of negative comments about them, but hell, I love that guy,’ he says.

Bobbitt has money in the bank but he lives mostly on disability benefits after breaking his neck in a car accident in 2014.

He also suffers from osteomyelitis, a bone infection that gives him ulcers and necessitates painful skin grafts. He believes he caught it when stationed with the Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in 1987, where the water supply had been contaminated with dry-cleaning solvents. He is on antibiotics and blood thinners, but hey, it is not all bad news on the health front.

A recent operation to reverse the penis enlargement he had when he was working as a porn star — in films such as John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut and Frankenpenis — has been a success.

‘Oh the penis reduction has been great,’ he says amiably, as if we were discussing some household carpentry project. ‘You know, it was just too big. About 10in by 3in when aroused. It was good for the movies, but girlfriends always complained about it. Quite often they would deny sexual activity. I haven’t been able to make love properly for over 20 years, but now I can.’

So why didn’t he have it done sooner? ‘I don’t know! I guess I just didn’t think of it. I wish I had. But now I am fully functional — and it was so easy, I didn’t even have to stay in hospital overnight.’ John Wayne Bobbitt and his penis — where to begin? It is a schlocky horror show that has fascinated and repelled America for a quarter of a century, a slice-of-life saga that has transfixed men and women, while turning him into a household name and the butt of a million jokes.

In the aftermath of the attack, Nasa’s Titan spacecraft acquired the nickname ‘Bobbitt’ because a section of the rocket detached during flight.

Even The New Yorker got in on the act, running a cartoon of three mice with white sticks listening to a radio. One is saying: ‘She cut off his what with a carving knife?’

Bobbitt never minded, because he was in on the joke.

He called himself Stumpy, he autographed steak knives, he hosted promotional events in Las Vegas where he entertained visiting society ladies by chopping up sausages and handing them round as canapes.

‘The jokes were great. I was kind of sad and depressed until the first joke came out but then I started feeling better. I felt that it humanised me, it lifted me up.’

He insists he never really wanted to become a porn star — although one can understand his yearning to show the world he had not lost his ability to function sexually.

‘It was temporary, a novelty, more of a retaliation. My wife hurt me and tried to ruin my life, so it was my way of saying it was just a scratch, no big deal.’

Some scratch!

Who was being honest about that night? Someone had to be innocent and someone had to be guilty, but the truth is as murky and evasive now as it was then.

Despite his acquittal, John was forever cast as the bad guy while Lorena was hailed as a champion, even though prosecutors called her actions ‘a calculated and malicious act of revenge.’ She became an icon of third-wave feminism, a symbol of female power in the face of what was seen as increasing male aggression.

No wonder Bobbitt does not want to return to the fanaticism of those days. Outside the court during Lorena’s trial, jubilant feminists sold T-shirts carrying the words A Cut Above and depicting a knife dripping with blood. Vendors offered handmade chocolate penises at $10 a piece. One band of unhinged radical feminists from Lorena’s native Ecuador threatened what they called ‘emasculation terrorism,’ in which they would cut off the penises of ten American men for every year of Mrs Bobbitt’s prison sentence, if she was jailed.

Meanwhile, famous feminist voices rallied to the cause.

‘It is the perfect allegory for the escalating gender war,’ boomed author Naomi Wolf. Law professor Susan Estrich called it ‘every man’s worst nightmare and many women’s occasional fantasy.’

Author and political activist Barbara Ehrenreich said she understood why some women felt a ‘ripple of glee’ upon hearing about Bobbitt’s fate.

American academic and social critic Camille Paglia called it a ‘revolutionary act’. Men’s organisations were aghast, calling it a tragedy, an ‘open season on men’ that not only condoned taking the law ‘into your own hands’ but also encouraged what it called ‘jungle savagery’.

Even now, people forget that were it not for the wonders of medicine and microsurgery, this would be a very different story indeed. Yet that did not stop pressure groups and feminist warriors, then and now, from descending upon this misbegotten pair like vultures, eager to exploit their grim little marriage for sex war purposes.

Yet John and Lorena were and are not quite the hero and heroine everyone wanted them to be. Back then, he was inarticulate and was later convicted of assaulting a topless dancer girlfriend. And the court case revealed Lorena’s history of thieving. Today, she works in a beauty salon and lives with David, her partner of 20 years and their 13-year-old daughter Olivia.

She started a foundation dedicated to preventing domestic violence, but it seems to do little more than a few token gestures.

All in all, it would be a blessing if everyone put their pet causes to one side and we could close the lid on this awful case for ever. Even Mr Bobbitt seems to think so.

‘I don’t know anyone who has been through so much with their sex organ as I have,’ says ol’ Stumpy, star of Frankenpenis and sometime international joke.

He says over the years he has learned much, become ‘more articulate, sensitive and understanding’ and even cries at romantic films.

He celebrated his 50th birthday last year with friends in ‘a real nice expensive steak restaurant’ and is pretty happy with his lot.

I ask girlfriend Joni if anything about him would surprise people.

‘Yes,’ she says. ‘The fact that he is so nice.’