What we learned from Amazon’s Lorena Bobbitt documentary

What do we really know about Lorena Bobbitt?

Twenty-five years after the trials of Lorena and her ex-husband John Wayne Bobbitt captivated the world, the woman who cut off her husband’s penis remains infamous for that act, and all the jokes that came after.

But Amazon’s new Jordan Peele-produced documentary “Lorena” seeks to reclaim the narrative and illuminate an episode of modern American history that has long been boiled down to a punchline.

The docuseries, which spans four hour-long episodes streaming on Amazon Friday, focuses the story away from her act and toward the deeper tale of domestic violence and sexism. It is equal parts informative and evocative, finding deeper layers in a saga many people think they know. The biggest points and most noteworthy moments:

A refresher course
For many people from younger generations, or older folks who don’t remember or didn’t pay attention in the early 1990s, the documentary is educational. Even though it often focuses on facts from the case that were publicly available at the time, many of them, especially about the domestic abuse Lorena Bobbitt endured, weren’t highlighted in the press.

One of the most powerful aspects of “Lorena” is the trial footage, including Lorena Bobbitt’s testimony. Long stretches of her describing rape and abuse are included as she sobs on the stand. The documentary also shows the multiple witnesses testified about the abuse she suffered from her husband, including evidence of injuries and of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.


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