"I grew up being told it was common knowledge that some crazy white lady cut her husband’s penis off in a fit of vengeance. It was this red hot thing that everybody got wrong." So declares documentary filmmaker Joshua Rofé. Lorena Bobbitt, now Lorena Gallo, agrees with him. She's the housewife infamously known for cutting off her husband's penis as he slept and tossing it in a field on June 23, 1993. But she says the real story is the one that got lost. It's the one Rofé is now telling in Lorena, a four-part documentary produced by Jordan Peele and dropping on Amazon Prime Video on Feb. 15. Amy Chozick interviewed Lorena, as she refers to her, for the New York Times, and puts forth her "actual story": allegations of recurring domestic violence that culminated in yet another rape before the then-24-year-old "finally snapped."
"It's like they all missed or didn't care why I did what I did," she says in relation to the media. Chozick backs that up, repeating elements of the case that have largely been forgotten: the testimony from others who had seen her bruises, the calls to 911, those who said John Bobbitt boasted to friends about forcible sex with her. Lorena was ultimately found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. In Rofé, she finally found someone willing to take a new look at her story, and maybe give it "equal billing to John’s penis," Chozick writes. Chozick notes that the documentary doesn't side with either Lorena or John, who gave interviews for it as well. He repeats his story: That she was the abuser, that he planned to divorce her, and that she cut off his penis after he wouldn't have sex with her. Read the full story, in which Chozick asks whether Lorena has regrets, here. (Read more Longform stories.)