Lorena Gallo, born in Ecuador, small and deeply Catholic, he met John Bobbitt in the United States. She was then 24 years old, and she was a virgin. He, 26, was an exmarine with an athletic body and blue eyes. After 10 months of courtship they were bathing in the pool when Bobbitt submerged and took an engagement ring from the bottom. Lorena said yes to the proposal of the one who had been her only boyfriend. A month after the wedding, John drove the car drunk with his co-pilot's wife. She asked him to stop and he responded with a blow. It was the first red flag that rose in the relationship. After four and a half years of abuse and violations, Lorraine, possessed by rage, took a knife from the kitchen and castrated her husband. The doctors managed to sew the member, leaving no physical sequelae. That caught the attention of the media, who covered the news with humor, with vulgar headlines and puns.
A quarter of a century later, Amazon releases a documentary series entitled Lorena, in which it shows what happened before, during and after the "anecdote" that survives in American popular culture. Its four one-hour chapters, which will debut on the platform this Friday, are directed by Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Get Out). The story, which allows us to review with insight how a case of sexist violence was addressed when the crime of rape within marriage had just been approved in all 50 states, reveals details such as John has continued stalking Lorena by email and letters.
It is essential to see at least the first two episodes to understand the story; the two trials. In the first John was declared not guilty of sexual assault in the marriage after an erratic testimony of Lorena. When the woman told the police what happened, she argued: "He always has an orgasm and does not wait for me to have one, he is selfish". The unfortunate phrase, which the lawyer justified that he did not speak English well, added to the doubts that awakened some torn panties to demonstrate the violation that had been cut with scissors, according to a forensic scientist of the FBI of the defense. Bobbitt pleaded not guilty, although he admitted to pushing her a couple of times to prevent her from hitting him. Lorena weighed 43 kilos. John, 90
The second chapter shows what the media and the spectators, with saved exceptions, have preferred to forget. Two months after the jury of nine women and three men pleaded not guilty to Bobbitt, Lorena went to trial for the crime of aggression. Dozens of people who witnessed the mistreatment that the young woman had been subjected to were on the stand: co-workers she had told them about, clients of the beauty salon in which she worked, who saw bruises on her arms, neighbors who They had heard the blows. Even friends of John acknowledged that he had told them that, when practicing sex, "it excited" him to wrestle women and beg for mercy. The lawyer asked the jury: "What is more valuable to you? A penis or a life? " Gallo was found not guilty for having acted under a state of "temporary mental disturbance."
The crude testimonies did not prevent programs such as the famous conductor David Letterman or Saturday night Live they will continue making jokes about it. "Good thing they found the member, it would look great fun in a milk box – where they usually publish missing people in the US-" or "Today's menu is sponsored by Lorena Bobbitt: grilled sausages" were part of the routines . "I was the subject of so many jokes in the 90s and for me it was just cruel (…) Why would they laugh at my suffering?", Lorraine reflected. in a recent interview in The New York Times.
After all the media scandal, John Bobbit became a celebrity engendered in the most frivolous strains of show business. The surgery that allowed him to continue with his sex life was also his ticket to the porn industry. It was a star, but of the fleeting ones. He tried everything to not disappear from the show business: from formalizing weddings in Las Vegas to managing a brothel. Amazon's documentary tells the number of times he has been arrested, twice he has ended up in jail for assaulting women. One of the victims offers a heartbreaking testimony in the series. John does not recognize any guilt and with his eyes fixed on the camera he argues that they accuse him to take advantage of his "fame". A hint of a constant smile, characteristic of him since he became a public figure, gives the feeling that for him nothing is serious enough.
Lorena, who remarried and has a daughter, founded Lorena's Red Wagon, dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence. Now he accepts the jokes in the television programs because "they are worthwhile as long as there is a woman who listens to her and who can give her hope". In one of the final scenes of the documentary she is seen sitting in front of a table covered with letters. They are from John. There are some still unopened. In some he says that he will always be the love of his life and in others he raises ideas as deranged as having a son to tell him exclusively to a medium and to pay them a fortune for it. In one of the heap, she confesses: "Do you remember when you told me once that I did not know how to treat women? Well, you were right. "
At the beginning of the '90s Time magazine published on its cover of February 14 the image of a man dressed in a suit with the face of a pig. "Are men really that bad?" Was the title that led the Valentine's Day edition. The question came three years after Anita Hill denounced Judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and still appointed him a member of the Supreme Court. Two years after William Kennedy Smith, nephew of the late President John Kennedy, was declared innocent of the crime of rape. And the year of the scandalous case of the then Bobbitt marriage in which Lorena became the laughingstock of much of the nation and John in a small-time celebrity.
It has been 25 years and the United States has a president with a score of complaints of sexual harassment that has named a judge accused of abuse for events that occurred decades ago as a new member of the High Court. The scandal of the sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, former producer of Hollywood, triggered a wave of complaints in all fields of work that has not stopped growing in the last two years. The Time debate is still valid.