Moving past the jokes: Lorena Bobbitt hopes documentary will shed light on domestic violence

L orena is very matter-of-fact about the whole thing. There, she says as she drives us around in her Kia on a recent afternoon, is the hospital where surgeons reattached John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis after she cut it off with a kitchen knife as he slept on the night of 23 June 1993.Fifteen minutes away is the gravel-strewn field where she disposed of the detached penis out the driver’s side window. So, why did she throw it away? I ask. “I tried to drive the car, obviously, but I had this thing in my hand so I couldn’t drive so I got rid of it.” Obviously.Further down the road, is the nail salon where she worked and fled to that night. “I’m not a vindictive person because I told them where it was,” Lorena Gallo, as she is now known, says. By “them” she means the police who, sometime after 4.30am, went digging through the overgrown roadside grass for the missing member. They found it, put it on ice in a Big Bite hot dog box from a nearby 7-Eleven and rushed it to the hospital where, in a nine-and-a-half-hour feat of surgery, it was reattached and restored to (almost) full function.For monthThese are the details everyone knows. It’s the actual story, Lorena says – the one about a young immigrant who endured years of domestic violence, was raped by her husband that night, had nowhere to go and finally snapped – that she wants to talk to me about.“They always just focused on it ... ” – as in her husband’s detached and reattached and then, a couple years later, surgically kind-of enlarged penis. That was all the media, before now, wanted to talk about. “And it’s like they all missed or didn’t care why I did what I did,” she says.Lorena is correct, of course, that most people forget that before she was tried for what she did, John was charged with marital sexual assault. (He was acquitted.) And, she is correct that people forget that a jury found her not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.