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Amazon Prime documentary spotlights the case of famous Ecuadorian Lorena Bobbitt

By Naomi Gordon

The infamous Lorena and John Bobbitt case will go down in history as one of the most sensationalized, highly-publicized, and minutely-scrutinized of all time.

Lorena Bobbitt at her trial in 1994.

Amazon Prime Video’s new documentary series Lorena aims to delve deeper to expose the hidden truths of a tragic story which was manipulated by a male-dominated media, and turned into a crude joke on late night TV shows — instead of sparking a conversation about domestic abuse and sexual assault.

In 1993, Lorena and John Bobbitt’s marriage hit the tabloid headlines when Lorena cut off her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife.

Shortly after the incident, Lorena drove off with John’s severed appendage, before throwing it into a field and calling 911. Following an extensive search by the authorities, John’s penis was found and subsequently successfully reattached in a hospital.

John Bobbitt, reattached

In court, Lorena said that after coming home on the night of June 23 1993, John had raped her, and during the trial, both the prosecution and defense accepted that he had demonstrated a history of mental and physical abuse toward Lorena. The escalating abuse provided a context for the eventual assault against him.

In 1994, a jury of seven women and five men found Lorena not guilty of all criminal charges due to insanity causing an irresistible impulse to sexually wound John. She was acquitted of malicious wounding, for which she could have served 20 years in prison, with the jury siding with the defense’s argument that she snapped psychologically after her husband raped her and yielded to an “irresistible impulse” to strike back (via The New York Times).

A native of Bucay, Ecuador, about 75 miles north of Cuenca, Lorena went by her maiden name, Lorena Gallo, following her divorce from John in 1993. After working for several years in a Washington, D.C. beauty parlor, she founded Lorena’s Red Wagon, an organization that helps victims of  domestic violence.

Lorena Gallo today

In 2009, Lorena and John met again for the first time since the trial on the The Insider tv show. John apologized for his behavior and said of Lorena’s response that he “had it coming.”

Lorena, produced by the Oscar-winning Jordan Peele (the director of Get Out), re-examines the case that shocked the U.S., with a “re-investigation of the deep moral issues and painful human tragedies buried at the heart of the infamous American scandal”. It will also hear from Lorena, finally providing her perspective on the story 25 years on.

“When we hear the name ‘Bobbitt’, we think of one of the most sensational incidents to ever be catapulted into a full-blown media spectacle,” Peele said.

“With this project, Lorena has a platform to tell her truth as well as engage in a critical conversation about gender dynamics, abuse, and her demand for justice.”

Lorena will launch on Amazon Prime Video on 15th February, following the world premiere at The Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday 29th January.

According to former Tonight show host David Letterman, the Bobbitt drama produced some of the best jokes of the 20th century (“rapier wit,” he called them). Letterman’s favorite, which he shared with his audience, went like this:

“When Lorena Bobbitt was speeding down the highway she threw something out her car window that splattered on the windshield of a passing pickup truck. The driver of the truck turned to his friend and said, ‘Did you see the size of the dick on that bug.’”
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Credit: Cosmopolitan, www.cosmopolitan.com