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Amazon Prime's New Documentary 'Lorena' Explores the Overlooked Parts of the Lorena Bobbitt Scandal

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Over 25 years ago, Lorena Bobbitt, now Lorena Gallo, cut off her husband John Bobbitt’s penis in the middle of the night. But this aspect of the story — which has also been the focus of tabloids and fearful men everywhere — isn’t the full story.

For example, not many people realize that before the mutilation incident occurred, her husband was charged with marital sexual assault, but was acquitted. This was despite the fact there were a number of witnesses who testified about seeing bruises on Gallo’s arms and neck.

Though Gallo was found not guilty of criminal charges on the basis of temporary insanity in 1994, the story of mutilating her husband was all people seemed to remember.

“They always just focused on it,” Gallo told The New York Times. “And it’s like they all missed or didn’t care why I did what I did.”

“Lorena,” Amazon’s new four-part documentary series highlights the parts of the Lorena Bobbitt story we have overlooked for years — prolonged domestic violence, sexual abuse and the male-dominated coverage of the scandal, just to name a few.

“Lorena” is a timely documentary in the #MeToo era, not only shining a light on the struggles of an abuse survivor but the extent to which we have historically failed to believe survivors and invalidate their experiences.

In a review for Variety, TV critic Caroline Framke wrote of the series:

By the end it’s abundantly clear that “Lorena,” like Lorena’s own defense team in 1994, sets out to prove that she didn’t cut off her husband’s penis for the hell of it as so many terrified men immediately assumed, but because she was a desperate woman trapped in a horrifically abusive marriage from which she saw no escape… “Lorena” wants to us to reckon with the wrenching truth of a supposedly juicy tabloid story, and the role that our culture’s fascination with exploiting it played in making it all so much worse.

Gallo now wants to use her platform to advocate for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, even though she recognizes that her situation may continue to be viewed as a laughing matter by some.

“I’ll put myself through the jokes and everything as long as I can shine a light on domestic violence and sexual assault and marital rape,” she said.

The documentary will be available for streaming Feb. 15 on Amazon Prime Video. You can watch the trailer here.

If you are a sexual assault or domestic violence survivor, you’re not alone. If you are in crisis and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you need support or want to connect with people who have been there, post a Thought or Question on The Mighty with the hashtag, #CheckInWithMe.

Screenshot via Amazon Prime Video YouTube channel

Originally published: January 31, 2019
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