HOUSTON — On Tuesday, possibly the country's most well-known abuse survivor was in Houston talking to other survivors.
Lorena Bobbitt became infamous for what she did to her husband. The tabloids called it the cut heard around the world.
Decades later, she goes by her maiden name, Lorena Gallo, and she is much more than a survivor.
In 1993, she cut off her husband's penis after she said she endured years of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. John Wayne Bobbitt was charged with marital sexual assault but was acquitted. Lorena then went on trial for malicious wounding. She was found not guilty.
She said that when the verdict was read, she felt that the jury felt her pain.
"I felt vindicated and for the first time, someone not only hearing me but listening to me," Gallo said in an interview with KHOU's Len Cannon. "It was this amazing relief that someone actually is believing my story."
She was vindicated, but in the months and years that followed, John Wayne Bobbitt became a bit of a celebrity. The narrative was about what happened to him, not about the woman he was accused of battering.
"It was not fair that the media only concentrated on one issue instead of actually taking the opportunity to talk about a crisis, which is domestic violence," Gallo said.
So, Gallo started talking about it. On Tuesday, she visited the Houston Area Women's Center, which provides support for victims of abuse.
"It was an amazing experience. As an advocate, I bring them hope. I tell them silence is not an option and (to) always look for help. There are advocates and shelters that will help and give them hope to save their lives because it often is a matter of life and death sometimes," she said.
Gallo found love and has been with her partner for 23 years. They have a daughter together and she is no longer a victim, but a voice for change. She says she has healed from that chapter of her life.
"I have healed. What helped was the support of family, the community and friends. ... Went through a lot of therapy. Of course, it wasn't easy. I wasn't this woman you see today," she said.
If you need help call the HAWC at 713-528-2121.