On Feb. 15, Amazon drops Lorena, a four-part documentary miniseries that follows the case of John Wayne and Lorena Bobbitt in Manassas, Virginia and the aftermath that ensued. Although many millennials may not remember the 1993 case, it's one that struck a chord with the public. The case sparked a discussion about domestic violence and a frenzy of sensationalized headlines, as Lorena became known as the woman who cut off her husband's penis. With the release of Lorena — and a new generation to hear her story — people are more curious than ever, digging into every detail of the case. Some are even asking where is Manassas, Virginia?
A quick search will tell you that Manassas is an independent city in Northern Virginia, which means that the city isn't part of any county. Bordering Prince William County and Manassas Park, the city has a reported population of 41,501, making it the 27th biggest city in Virginia, with a population density of about 1,365 people per square mile. While Manassas may seem insignificant in the John Wayne and Lorena Bobbitt case other than its mere location, the city became a feeding ground for people to add fuel to the media fire.
Written by Joshua Rofé and produced by Get Out writer and director Jordan Peele, Lorena will revisit the trial and Lorena's journey through a lens of domestic violence. While the Bobbitt case made worldwide news and she was not found guilty according to the New York Times, people seemed to focus most on the crime rather than what may have caused Lorena to do it. Instead, her case was reported by a male-dominated press that turned Lorena's name into a series of tasteless punchlines. Soon, she became the butt of the joke, even becoming the subject of a sketch on Saturday Night Live.
In 1994, The Baltimore Sun's Wiley Hall described the crowd that gathered outside of the Manassas courthouse as a "grotesque carnival," as vendors set up shop outside to sell "T-shirts, and chocolate penises, and 'Lorena Bobbitt for Surgeon General' buttons."
Meanwhile, men wrote a song making fun of the assault to the tune of Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover," and others were "collecting money for the John Wayne Bobbitt medical and legal defense fund." It was a clear and overt way to show hostility towards both Lorena — who was the one on trial — and women in general.
Today, Lorena goes by her maiden name — Gallo — and still lives in Northern Virginia with her longtime partner and their 13-year-old daughter. Despite the treatment of Lorena throughout the trial and years later, she now chooses to use her voice and platform to fight for domestic violence victims, even if that means putting up with the jokes, according to Today.
“I believe that this is a gift," Lorena revealed to Today. "And if I can help change a life, then my mission is worth it."
Lorena premieres on Netflix Feb. 15.