Lorena Bobbitt hopes that the new documentary about her story will shed light on not only her story, but also on those of other victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Produced by Jordan Peele, "Lorena" will premiere Tuesday at the Sundance Film Festival.
You probably know the story by now: In June 23, 1993, Lorena cut off husband John Wayne Bobbitt's penis and fled their Manassas, Va., apartment with it, discarding it in a field.
The case became a media sensation and a late night joke writer's dream; Lorena was acquitted of malicious wounding "by reason of temporary insanity," reportedly spawned by abuse she suffered at John's hands. John denied all abuse allegations.
Now, Lorena is moving on from victim and punchline to advocate.
She takes particular exception to Howard Stern, who paid for her ex-husband's penis enlargement surgery and had John as a regular guest on the show — but she's not holding her breath waiting for an apology from the King of All Media.
Warning: Explicit language
"The way how I look at it, if I was waiting for everyone to give me an apology, then that would have prevented me from moving on with my life," Lorena, 48, told Variety. "And I am not going to sit around for everyone to give me an apology. I think that Howard and many others missed tremendous opportunities to talk about these serious social issues."
She added, "I was very saddened in the way how the media was treating the whole situation. They used me as a joke and it was very sad. It was very hurtful to me that people actually take a look at and not see the reality of what happened here. I did not know how to handle it at that time."
"Instead of having a serious conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault, it was about John’s organ," she fumed. "The whole essence of the whole situation is indignant."
Lorena has become a somewhat unlikely face of the #MeToo movement in the anniversary of the infamous trial, and while she generally leads a quiet life, she wants to use the resurfaced spotlight for good.
"The #MeToo movement has helped a lot build awareness and reduced the stigma for victims," she said, "and I applaud the efforts that this movement has brought to bring attention of sexual harassment and victims of sexual abuse."
She continued, "We are looking at sexual assault and domestic violence in a different lens. My story is a story of every victim. It is many stories of women and men who are being victimized by domestic violence and sexually assault. So, we have this documentary to see and to make people understand how much trauma a victim goes through. It shows the seriousness of the situation. It shows how victims are traumatized and psychologically impaired to even leave their abusers."