Lorena (2019) s01e04 Episode Script

The Cycle of Abuse

Kim Gandy: It happens every day
in the United States.
even thousands of women
who are tortured and beaten
and treated in ways
that would be unthinkable
to any human.
Jane Pauley: What happened in
the case of your first husband?
When I came to,
I was in the hospital,
and the police asked me
if I wanted to press charges,
and I told them yes.
And they had asked me
if I had any witnesses.
Pauley: And you'd been beaten
by a tire iron
andand woke up
in the hospital,
and yet they still
needed some corroboration?
Gandy: The Bobbitt case
came at a time
when the criminal
justice system
didn't take domestic violence
and sexual assault seriously,
and there simply
was not a real national dialogue
about domestic violence.
Woman: How many more men are
gonna go out there raping women?
When is domestic violence
gonna end?
When is our system
gonna explore the issue
and do something about it
so women do not have to be
pushed to the extreme
of taking matters
into their own hand?
This is not
just about Lorena Bobbitt.
What affects one
affects us all.
Gandy: Many of us saw this case
as an opportunity
to bring domestic violence
into the public eye.
And I know
that there were a lot of women
who were
holding their breath for her,
who saw themselves
in her plight,
who thought, "If I did
something to extricate myself
from this situation,
what would happen to me?
Would there be mercy?"
David Kaplan:
David Kaplan.
Man: I have to ask you,
as the justice editor,
what you think
of the trial itself.
This isn't that complicated.
She admits what she did.
She says she had
a good excuse for it.
She was a very good witness
in trying to explain it.
It's now up to the jury.
Remain seated. Come to order.
This court's in session.
Counsel, the jury has indicated
they do have a verdict
at this time.
I'll ask the bailiff
to please bring the jury down.
Lorena: My life was
in the hands of jurors.
They're the ones
who are gonna decide
whether you're
going to jail or not,
whether you're
going to be free or not.
Will the defendant please stand?
In the case
of Commonwealth of Virginia
versus Lorena Leonor Bobbitt,
criminal number 33821,
we the jury find the defendant
Lorena Leonor Bobbitt
- not guilty
- [woman screams]
of malicious wounding
as charged in the indictment
by reason of insanity
signed, Clay S. Cocalis,
[crowd cheering]
Lorena: When she read
the verdict "not guilty,"
I felt like, "Oh, my God.
This is gonna be good."
[cheering continues]
Cocalis: So, it was
11 to 1 at one point
where I was
the only holdout.
Most of the jurors, whether
they would admit to it or not,
might have thought
that Lorena was guilty,
but they didn't
want to see her punished
because ofof the way
her husband John
had treated her
in the past.
Judge: Does either counsel
wish for the jury to be
Cocalis: They felt that
he got what he deserved,
but ultimately, I kind of just
acquiesced and said, "Okay."
Judge: The jury
in this particular case
found her not guilty
by reason of insanity,
and pursuant to 19.2-182.2 where
a jury makes such a finding,
it does set forth and says
that the court shall
place the person so acquitted
in the temporary custody
of the commissioner of mental
health and mental retardation
and this court will do that.
If Your Honor please, we would
ask that Your Honor set
I didn't understand.
Something is wrong.
I mean,
she just read the verdict
saying that I'm not guilty.
Judge: Ms. Bobbitt,
I remand your custody
over to the bailiff,
so there can be
appropriate transportation
to the commissioner
of mental health.
Lorena: And then, two
police officers took me away.
[indistinct chatter]
Lorena: Just couldn't
understand what's going on.
What did she say?
Did she say anything?
We had discussed
thethe possible verdicts
in this case,
and she fully understood
that in the event
of a "not guilty
by reason of insanity,"
that by statute,
uh, there's a mandate.
There was confusion
in her mind.
It wasn't "not guilty"
and that'sthat's it.
But she was charged
with malicious wounding,
and she could've gotten a very,
very long prison sentence,
and it is, uh,
in Virginia recognized,
if you're found, uh,
not guilty by reason
of irresistible impulse,
thenthen you're not
criminally responsible.
[crowd chanting]
Female reporter: Acquittal
by reason of temporary insanity
does not mean Lorena Bobbitt
is a free woman.
Virginia law requires she be
sent to a state mental hospital
to undergo evaluation.
He should be the one who be
in jail, not me.
I was on my way to
Central State Hospital,
for a psychiatric evaluation.
Male announcer:
The verdict is in in Manassas,
but the case isn't closed.
Bobbitt's argument,
sad and violent as it was,
certainly made
for provocative TV,
but will it make a difference?
Man: If she didn't do it,
who did it?
I don't think
it was self-inflicted.
I think it's crazy.
She deserves everything good
that she has coming.
Should get some help
so she doesn't react that way
next time.
Because her husband got off
and I think
he was just as guilty.
And if they let him off,
they should've left
let her off too.
Larry King: Because this debate
rages tonight
in offices and bars
and restaurants everywhere,
we give you Patricia Ireland,
president of the National
Organization for Women,
and Sidney Siller,
founder and president
National Organization for Men.
Is this a feminist issue?
Well, certainly, violence
against women or spousal abuse
is a feminist issue.
It's why we think this case
really underscores
the need for Congress,
when it comes back
into session next week,
to get about the business
of passing
a comprehensive Violence
Against Women Act.
All right, Sidney, what was it
to you and your organization?
I think it's justice
run amok.
I think it was a barbaric,
Neanderthal, uh, act
that, uh,
Lorena Bobbitt committed.
She should've been found guilty,
and I think it's a travesty
and miscarriage of justice.
- The
- In other words,
"You can't retaliate
if you're abused."
You can only retaliate
with equal force to resist.
You cannot use
excessive force.
That's the common law
and generally accepted theories
- of self-defense.
- King: I see.
Nobody was more upset
than the Bobbitt family itself.
Is there any possibility
in your mind
Bill, I know this is hard,
it's your son
that they both were wrong?
To a degree,
but I don't believe
that John raped her
or beat her.
What do you do now, Bill?
What's John gonna do?
We're hoping that John's gonna
have the opportunity
to go out and be able
to tell people his side.
Uh, somebody said, "Well,
John's not a rocket scientist."
Well, he's not,
but he's honest.
and if they'd listen to him,
that usually comes across.
John Bobbitt: Devastating for me
and everybody that watched.
Ev-everybody's, like, shocked.
Itit's bad.
I mean, lost a loved one
and the person
who did it got away.
And, you know,
you want to seek revenge.
You didn't get justice,
but there's gotta be a way.
Man: I'm afraid I'm gonna
have to ask all of you to leave
'cause you're interfering
with the conduction of business
in this restaurant.
So would you please
take your cameras outside?
Thank you.
Lorena: When I was driving
to Central State Hospital,
I was thinking,
"There's gonna be
all kind
of crazy people there."
You know, whatever I see
in a movie or something.
I didn't know what to expect.
Evan Nelson: In Virginia,
if someone's found
not guilty
by reason of insanity,
folks get committed
to the psychiatric hospital
at the maximum security
forensic unit
at Central State Hospital
for 45 days.
It's an old-time
psychiatric hospital
with lots of security so that
it feels sort of like a jail
with a hospital mission.
And during that 45 days,
two docs
are going to evaluate them
one psychiatrist
and one psychologist.
Lorena: When we got there,
when they opened the door,
it was all eyes on me.
They knew who I was.
Female reporter: The verdict
meant the jury bought
the defense's contention
that Lorena Bobbitt suffered
so much abuse at the hands
of her husband John
Lorena: I felt
like I was falling apart.
It's just the unknown part
that I fear the most.
Nelson: We had a problem
with a helicopter making a flyby
over the outside
recreation area
clearly shooting an aerial shot
of Lorena Bobbitt
outside having recreation time.
Some high-profile
TV personalities
who wanted to speak with her
tried to send her flowers
to the hospital.
It was really disruptive
to the rest of the hospital
to have this case that the media
still wouldn't let up on.
Alan Hauge: The head
of the mental institution,
called me on the phone,
and they said,
"I have
Barbara Walters outside
who is absolutely
demanding an interview,"
with a huge ABC crew.
And they're gettingthey got
the satellite dish up,
and theythey're
getting ready to do
a, uha transmission.
Barbara said,
"I interview kings.
"I interview presidents.
And you're not gonna tell me
I can't talk to Lorena Bobbitt."
Uh, the woman says,
"What do you want me to do?"
I said,
"What does Lorena say?"
"Lorena said
she doesn't want to do it."
"So you go out and tell Barbara
that this is an interview
"she's not gonna get.
So you go back and tell her that
and give her my phone number."
[phone ringing]
Barbara was on hold for an hour,
and I didn't pick it up,
and the light
finally went out.
Four weeks later, she said,
"Why didn't you choose me?"
I said, "You're part
of the Illuminati.
"You're part
of the Trilateral Commission.
"You're part
of the feminist movement.
"Those are all things
I don't want Lorena
"to have anything to do with.
I just want her to be able
to tell the story."
Gandy: One of the National
Organization for Women's
priorities was eliminating
violence against women.
We sent out press release
after press release
thinking that there
were gonna be reporters
who want to talk
about this issue,
who want to understand
domestic violence,
and understand
what might have driven a victim
to do what she did.
But the public
was so entranced by the act
that they just couldn't
really focus on anything else.
Man: How much, uh,
of his penis was cut off?
Melissa Jeltsen: The huge,
national and international
media presence
that descended for these cases
really obscured
the true story,
which was Lorena Bobbitt's
own victimization.
Geraldo Rivera:
One angry Virginia housewife
cut off her husband's penis.
Hugh Downs: What kind
of a woman could strike out
in such a shocking way?
The pain was going
through my mind for Christ sakes
for this poor guy.
Woman: Then she drove away
and threw the penis
into a field.
No excuse for that.
Male reporter:
Lorena Bobbitt was portrayed
by prosecution witnesses
as a vicious woman
who physically
attacked her husband.
Doing research for my story,
what I noticed is this
portrayal of Lorena Bobbitt
as a vengeful, crazy woman
who just snapped for no reason,
and that really missed
the context of her story,
uh, and did a disservice
to domestic violence victims
across the country.
No woman should be
treated like this
like I was.
Gandy: I think that
domestic violence wasn't covered
because the editors were men.
There are a lot
of women reporters
that tried to write stories,
and they would say, you know,
"I tried to write this,
and my editor said,
"Oh. Nobody cares about that."
That was
a pretty common response.
When she did it, uh,
I was sleeping.
- I was laying down
- Man: Yeah.
flat on my back, you know,
I wasyou know, just exhausted.
- I was in a deep sleep.
- Man: Right.
- And, um
- Man: And you wake up
I felt a pull, and then,
just a jerk, and, you know
America's most controversial
performer in his first-ever
gay nightclub appearance.
Ladies and gentlemen
and everybody else,
Mr. John Wayne Bobbitt!
Come on,
let's hear it for him!
All right.
They want me to strip.
You guys want
to see me strip
[cheering and booing]
Tonight John will be judging
the Lorena look-alike contest
featuring transvestites.
[cheers and applause]
Jack Gordon:
John will strip.
John will sell his underpants
to the highest bidder.
Male announcer: Just $100
for set of one, guys.
John, if your mother
could see you now.
One, two
Drag performer: Oh, come on!
Let's hear it, everybody!
I think the Bobbitt industry
is worth, conservatively,
$10 million.
[camera clicks]
John: This is just, you know,
something to show everybody
that, uh, I'mI'm healed
and fully functional.
I still can have sex and, um,
it doesn't leak, you know.
Man: Whatwhat's the storyline
of this thing?
John: Just basing it
on my whole life.
What's your name?
My name is Lorena.
What brings you here?
Well, my girlfriend
has a thing for Marines.
I know a Marine
who has a thing for you.
Really? Who's that?
Aaron Gordon:
We know that when people
plop that video into their
video cassette machine,
they're gonna
hit the fast forward button,
and they're going
right to the first time
they see John's penis.
People that normally don't watch
adult movies still wanna see
what John Wayne Bobbitt's
penis looks like.
We feel like this film
is just gonna be a blockbuster.
So why not give it a traditional
Hollywood screening?
James Sehn: I was happy
to see the porn film
eventually to see
my handiwork was working well.
That's all I really cared about.
Howard Stern:
You didn't get a million bucks.
- John: No.
- Stern: And then they say
you get a percentage.
- Percentage, definitely
Stern: But you know,
the porno industry,
and I'm not saying this about
anybody in your video
Robin Quivers: How you gonna
tell how many videos are sold?
- Stern: Yeah
- Well, it's overI don't know,
I have no idea.
- Where do the profits go?
Does it go into a, uh
- Quivers: An escrow?
Stern: An escrow account?
Yeah, it goes
into an escrow account
in Jack Gordon's account.
- Stern: Oh, it does?
Stern and Quivers:
Oh, Jack Gordon's
- Quivers: escrow.
- Stern: Really. Oh.
I didn't know it was going
into Jack Gordon's account.
Well, then you have
nothing to worry about.
I mean, you've got Honest Jack
on your side,
so there's no problem there.
- Quivers: No, not a problem.
Stern: That's right.
And you are his manager?
You are Jack Gordon's son?
- Yeah, that's me.
This thing's like
the fourth biggest-grossing
adult film already.
- Quivers: Really?
- Is that right?
- Aaron: So we're gonna chase
"Deep Throat" to $100 million.
- Isn't that something?
[camera clicks]
Gregg Murphy: John was attracted
to the prospect of making
this kind of money.
He, unfortunately, did not.
I think he made
a little bit of money,
but, uh, got totally
taken advantage of.
Sehn: Murphy took John's
credit history to federal court
is my understanding.
They went through a process
called Chapter 11,
which basically bankrupted
all his current debts,
which included
the hospital debt.
To my knowledge, the hospital
never got paid any money
for the case and back then,
even 25 years ago,
you know, it would've cost
at least probably $50,000.
I certainly
wasn't getting paid, so,
you know, he'd gotten
notnot a whole lot of money
at that time.
I don't think he's ever
gotten a lot of money.
He was taken advantage of later
by, uh, Jack Gordon.
[camera clicks]
Male police officer: We were
called to a domestic violence
involving Mr. Bobbitt
and, uh, Miss Elliott.
She alleged that Mr. Bobbitt
had grabbed her
and pushed her
up against a wall.
Well, he was just hitting me.
He was just going off.
I'm innocent. It wasn't that,
you know, I wanted to hit her.
She was hitting me.
I'm going to sentence you
to 60 days in
the Clark County Jail.
[thunder rumbling]
Lorena: When I was
at the hospital, I was scared
most of the time.
I was fighting
all kinds of bad memories.
I felt that I was hunted
by my husband.
Like John was somewhere around
ready to grab me or something.
It's just
like a horror movie.
And I didn't realize
that it was flashbacks or PTSD
because I will just
have nightmares
and I would just,
like, wake up.
I said, "I just have
to get myself together.
"I just have to compose myself.
"I don't want
to end up with drugs.
"I don't want to end up here
more than 45 days."
And believe me,
I would count the days.
A core tenet of somebody going
through trauma-related therapy
is to learn to discuss
the trauma.
Can't tell you
the neurochemistry behind it,
but sure can tell you
that it works.
As people retell the story
again and again,
it not only gets easier,
but they start
to understand things
that they didn't understand
at the beginning.
The more I talked,
I wanted to talk
even more
and more and more.
- And, so
[shower running]
I realized it was just
a different obstacle,
and my religious belief
came to take over.
I was trying to fight
thethe PTSD.
Fight the demons,
fight whatever haunt me,
fight the bad horrors
that I just went through.
And I said, "I have to
get myself put together
"and just go on
"because I'm still here.
I'm in Central State,
but I'm still here."
I just had to go through this
day by day.
John: I can't begin to tell ya
how much stuff I done,
everywhere I've been,
and all the radio
and television I've done,
and autographs I've signed.
David Berman: At the time,
John was probably more famous
than almost anybody
except maybe
the president
of the United States.
But when he gets
out of the limelight,
I mean, he doesn't have a lot
that he can do
with the job market,
and he didn't really know
how to parparlay it.
Man: You are now known
as Reverend John Wayne Bobbitt.
You now have the right
to perform weddings.
Bill, do you take Diane
to be your
lawfully wedded wife?
Bill: I do.
Berman: I think
he could've done other things
to promote himself
that would've been better.
John Wayne Bobbitt is going in
for a penis extension.
[Quivers laughs]
I think this is insane.
John: There were some
porn star friends of mine
that was getting it done,
and you knowwhy not?
Bigger's better.
Stern: John Wayne Bobbitt
and Dr. Rosenstein,
who is going to perform
the operation
on John Wayne Bobbitt.
Are you having an extension
or are you having it made wider?
- Uh, both.
- Quivers: Length and girth.
Length and girth, right.
Stern: Ohoh,
you are giving him girth.
You're gonna be big.
- John: Yeah.
Wow. Look how happy he is.
Look at him. Oh, man.
Wouldn't you be afraid
to do something to the penis
after going through
something like that?
Uh, no. I did lots of research
and, uh, Dr. Rosenstein
is one of the best doctors
in the world.
- Stern: I see.
- Well, you know,
I've done thousands
of these, so we
it's hard to get nervous
over a single operation.
I'll tell you, man,
II don't think I would do it,
but you will get more chicks,
so maybe it's worth doing.
John: I'm still unsure,
so I want to think about it.
Man: In the movie
you actually see the operation
where they're actually
making his penis larger
while he's under
under sedation.
John: It's a good title
because, you know,
it didn't turn out the way
I expected, you know? I mean
Man: Well, what'd you expect?
Uh, II thought I'd have this,
like, perfect penis, you know?
- Man: Right.
- But, uh, now it's like
pathetic penis.
Berman: John had this botched
penile augmentation
with fat graft into his penis,
and it was actually
an awful, awful job.
Certainly, had he asked me,
you know,
should he risk that,
I would have told him
he's nuts.
Had the doctor telltold you
about the lawsuits and stuff
and that things were going on?
- No, no one said
anything to me, and, uh,
I was just healing.
- Stern: I mean, we did.
- Quivers: He didn't tell you
it was gonna be that painful
or that restrictive?
Right. He's so anxious
to be a celebrity,
that he said, "Well, okay,
I already did a porno movie,
no one's gonnayou know,
they gotta see something new."
So he went and mutilated his
own penis for the porno movie.
Who's there to protect you?
II never had anybody
to protect me,
like, good management.
So, like, you know,
Rocky Balboa.
[imitates Rocky]
"Need a good manager."
And mixes upprotect you
from all this, you know?
All this crap, you know?
You know?
Make sure you don't get hurt.
[indistinct chatter]
Judge: The court agrees
with the doctor's findings
and recommendations
that inpatient hospitalization
is not required at this time.
The court is going
to conditionally release
the acquittee.
Are there any questions
at this time by either counsel?
[indistinct chatter]
If there are no questions,
then that would conclude
the hearing at this time.
Thank you.
Lorena, what's the first thing
you're going to do now?
Well, I've been
to McDonald's already.
I guess next step
is Disney World.
You appear to be
a much different woman,
than a month and a half ago.
How do you describe
how you are different?
Well, being in the hospital,
it make me more stronger person.
I take that as aan experience.
It's just a learning experience,
and it helps me to be
more mature, also.
Man: Lorena,
how do you want men
to feel about you?
In general?
Well, men have to have
a little bit more consideration
and respect a woman.
-Woman: I think that's good.
JAMES LOWE: I think that's
probably a good place
to cut this
cut this shortthat's about
the best answer we can give
Lorena: After my release,
I needed to set a goal.
Man 1: Lorena, can we get one
more smile?
Man 2: Lorena,
back here, babe. Lorena!
To go back to life
and start
the process of healing,
I felt that no matter
how public my face is,
I needed to go back
to my routine.
Work, go home, and partially
get my life back on track again.
Female reporter: And so this
last chapter is nearly written
as Lorena Bobbitt is released
into outpatient treatment
to last until the court
deems otherwise,
and many other
are hoping all this
brings the issue
of domestic violence
to the forefront
of the public consciousness.
Lorena Bobbitt used a knife!
Lorena Bobbitt saved her life!
Lorena Bobbitt used a knife!
Jeltsen: In the years leading up
to the Bobbitt case,
there was a lot of activity
and energy by advocates
trying to get the country
to focus on domestic violence
and sexual harassment.
But it just wasn't
happening fast enough.
Gandy: In the late '80s,
early '90s
local, state, and federal
governments were very slow
to recognize and fund
domestic violence.
There just wasn't a sense
that special resources
were needed.
[siren wailing]
Domestic violence cases
don't get national attention
because they're so ordinary
they happen every day.
They're often considered
a private matter that happens
between a man and his wife.
Joe Biden: We cannot afford
to wait any longer
to treat domestic violence
as something
other than what it is
a serious crime.
Gandy: A spark for
the Violence Against Women Act
came from Senator Joe Biden.
It was his baby.
Now who could be against that?
Gandy: He found
a Senate co-sponsor
on the other side of the aisle
Orrin Hatch,
and the two of them were,
nominally, thethe authors
of the Violence
Against Women Act.
We were crafting legislation
which had, as part of its focus,
a coordinated
community response.
Police officer: And you need
to keep Ann and Cliff
apart from each other
because you know
Dan Harris: Prior to 1991,
law enforcement's response
to domestic violence
was more hands-off.
We would try to get the parties
to calm down.
We'd try to get 'em to separate,
maybe someone go for a walk.
Just literally
have a time-out.
Gandy: We were working
on funding for police,
and funding for prosecutors,
and funding for judges
to have training
to understand these cases.
We hoped that trying
to pass legislation
would bring domestic violence
into the national attention.
But we also understood
it's very, very hard
to get action.
[crickets chirping]
[animal howls]
John worked here, of course.
He was our celebrity greeter,
if you will.
He came out here
and, uh, we liked him,
and so,
we ended up hiring him.
His name was big at the time,
and we had him.
Dennis Hof:
John started out at the door.
Somebody rings the buzzer.
All the girls start lining up.
He would say,
"Hello, I'm John Bobbitt.
Welcome to the world-famous
Bunny Ranch."
And people would go
Theythey were shocked.
II gotta tell you.
This was a big deal.
He was a tabloid titan.
The Bunny Ranch cannot
advertise in Nevada,
but I can do
promotion and media.
The tabloids, everybody,
just loved it.
Madam Suzette: We were trying
to teach him behind the bar,
but he wouldn't retain
too much information.
He was kinda A.D.D.
and scattered a little bit.
So, if he was behind the bar,
we'd have to have another
bartender behind the bar too,
because he couldn't take over
that whole bar.
Then we thought,
"We'll, uh, train him
to drive the limo."
Airforce Amy:
You'd give him a job to do
and he just didn't
realize the gravity of it
thatif you're supposed
to drive the limo,
you're supposed
to drive the limo.
You don't let, like,
an 18-year-old drunk girl
drive the limo for you.
Caressa Kisses: We hated him
around the customers.
He, you know,
he just felt like
everybody who came through
the door was here for him.
"John, you can't talk to 'em
for two and three hours,
"and get 'em drunk.
"We need towe need to do that.
That's our job."
There's two sides of him
the really nice guy,
very mild mannered,
very pleasant.
the stone, fucking asshole.
From nice guy to fucking asshole
in three drinks.
Caressa: When he'd drink,
he became very, uh, verbally
and physically abusive.
And he would sit right
at the very end of the bar
in that last bar seat
that was his favorite.
Suzette absolutely demanded
that he could not drink
on property.
And it became,
uh, a violent argument,
and she let him go.
He had to be escorted
off the property.
Well, some of his family members
showed up at her house
and threatened her,
uh, to let John
come back to work.
Suzette: They all pulled up
in, like, a posse
six, seven people.
Car after car
after car after car,
and I was kind of living
out in the sticks at the time.
I'm thinking, "Ooh."
And John was with them.
Hof: They started giving Suzette
a hard time,
on the verge of violence.
I felt fearful enough
for my life
that I went and got a
I called the cops
and got a restraining order.
Man: Why in the hell would you
rehire him to come back?
'Cause I'm media whore.
If the media value
wasn't there,
there would not have been
a second, third, fourth, fifth
whatever amount of chances
we gave him.
And next thing you know,
his family got in trouble,
and John was
in the middle of it
something over aaa store
and stealing clothes.
Hof: John was taking clothes
from a store.
Told this girl,
"I'm a celebrity.
You should give me things."
It was $150,000 worth
of clothing,
and the way
that he got caught,
was that he was
returning the clothing
to other stores
in the same chain
to get cash.
And he got arrested for it.
He was, um, out on bail,
and so we had
a birthday party for him.
It was his 32nd birthday.
So we thought, "Well,
let's make an event out of it.
Invite the media."
Suzette: I baked the cake.
It had beautiful frosting
"Happy Birthday, John."
I put this huge knife in it.
And then I put
the red gel all around
dripping around the knife
and onto the cake.
We had
all this stuff planned.
It was great
until John didn't show.
But he skipped bond.
Dennis put up
a very substantial amount
to keep him out of jail.
He was nowhere to be found.
He was on the run.
Tom Jarriel: Neither you
nor John were found guilty
in this particular case.
Was there no victim here?
Or were you both victims?
We're both were victims
of a tragic situation.
But as far as a crime
was there no crime?
Yes, it was a crime.
Two crimes.
Jarriel narrating: Lorena is
working with a Hollywood agent
to film
the story of her life.
She wants to make some money,
pay legal bills,
and then get on
with her personal life.
The plan, initially, was to do
either a television special,
or a motion picture
on her life
that would tell the truth
outside of what
the media was doing.
That became
a real clear objective for me.
If we did get a half a million
dollars for an interview,
the first money would go
directly to this trust,
and the beneficiary
of that trust,
would be Lorena only.
There'd be nobody else.
Lorena: Alan, how he was,
making deals
with Janna Bisutti
she wanted me to sign
a contract, which I did
not knowing that I was
signing away 15% to her.
Regina Keegan:
The story was so sensational,
and everybody
was getting their 15 minutes.
And if the publicity
of her abuse
can help one person
find freedom,
then all of this
was not in vain.
Keegan: When I went
to the courthouse,
the salon manager-owner,
she was talking about
"Well, everything she's wearing,
"I got her.
"And she's lucky
to have a friend like me.
"And if they
want an interview,
they're gonna
have to go through me."
She said,
"They pay for everything,
"and you go first class.
"They give you money
to go get clothes,
"and they set you up
in a nice hotel,
and they give you a driver."
"Oh. Is there a therapist
in there somewhere for Lorena?"
Lorena: I really felt betrayed
by Janna Bisutti.
That was very devastating.
She was my confidant.
I look up to her.
And as much as it hurt,
I had to say goodbye.
I didn't choose
to be in the spotlight.
It wasn't intentional.
But for some reason,
you know,
people thought
that they can always
make money off of my story.
I just wanted
to live a simple life.
I went through so much,
and, um, I have to somehow
get the strength
toto move on.
That's exactly
what I wanted to do.
I wanted to move on.
Desiree: When I met John,
I was about 19 years old.
We dated very briefly,
and I helped him get
to Niagara Falls, New York.
John ran off with Desiree.
She'd worked here.
She was a working girl.
So, they kinda hooked up
and started being friends.
It was their
dirty little secret
they were hiding
from the king.
Desiree was a nice girl,
but if somebody comes
and works for us,
you can't touch the girls.
You know, that's my merchandise.
That's how I make my money.
You take one of the girls out,
that's minus $50,000 a month.
It's like stealing from me.
You might as well
reach into my pocket
and grab
a few thousand dollars.
I drove John all the way
to Niagara Falls, New York
back to his family.
When we got out there,
John said to me,
"I don't have any money
"because I was living
paycheck to paycheck,
and can you help me?"
So I helped him
to secure an apartment.
But I lived cross-country.
I was paying the rent
and supporting him.
I would come back and forth
between where I lived
and to the apartment.
I was in this loop
for a couple years with John.
I had come back to make sure
that the apartment
was going to be taken
out of our name
into just his name.
John flew off the handle
and he beat me
with just about everything that
was loose in that apartment.
[dog barking]
John forciblytook me
out onto the balcony,
and pushed me
over the edge of the balcony,
and was holding onto me
by my lower legs
dangling me over the balcony,
threatening to drop me.
People in the street
saw what happened.
He pulled me back up
by my hair, by my limbs,
drug me across the railing
and I was
thrown into the bedroom.
I was tied to the bed.
Herepeatedly raped me.
He sodomized me.
He told me
that I was his Lorena now.
And neither she or I
or anyone that he had been with
would ever escape him.
After three days
[voice breaking]
almost endless torture
I thought if I played dead,
he would just leave me be.
And after trying to rile me,
and talk to me,
and checking and see
if I was still breathing,
he untied me,
and he started
gathering sheets
like he was gonna
wrap me up in them.
To hide my body.
And when he had me
completely untied
he started to make
his way to the door.
And I ran.
[camera clicks]
Caroline Wojtaszek: There was
an accusation of a domestic
involving John Wayne Bobbitt
and Desiree.
John Bobbitt was charged
with harassment
which is a violation, um,
under New York State penal law.
But nine times out of ten,
whenever I had a victim
in front of me,
what they told
the police officer at the scene
scratched the surface
of what really happened.
There were no allegations
of rape at the time,
so they did not collect
a rape kit,
but because I knew
that John Wayne Bobbitt
had a pretty significant history
of domestic violence,
I knew that this was a case
that I would have to try,
that I couldn't offer
a lesser plea.
Luckily, we found
that supportive evidence.
An 11- or 12-year-old child
had been home sick that day,
and he heard some noise
out in the hallway,
and pulled up a chair,
looked out the peephole,
and had seen
John pulling Desiree
dragging her, essentially,
through the hallway.
And John Wayne Bobbitt
was found guilty
and spent some time
in jail.
II never used violence
against another person
pretty much ever.
Most men who abuse, continue
to abuse throughout their lives.
Judge: The court does hereby
accept your plea of "guilty,"
and upon it, you are found
and are judged guilty,
and you are sentenced
as follows.
Anything to say John?
John: There's probably a lot
of women who were victimized
women who were
legitimately vic-victimized
by men, alcoholics,
abusiveyou knowguys.
But these women who are
opportunist gold diggers,
they use you
as a stepping stone
to advance their career.
Just like the immigrant
that marries a guy,
if it's not working out,
they can do the same thing
as a gold digger.
Nelson: Abusers often don't
recognize themselves as abusers.
They often have a series
of distorted ideas
that convince themselves that
what they're doing is justified,
or that it's not so bad,
or that she's exaggerating it.
There was a domestic violence
dispute between John and I,
and I was injured.
Woman: John Bobbitt
C519675A, battery.
John: These women,
they know that their backup
is to use law enforcement
to their advantage by saying,
"Well, you know what?
If you leave,
"or youyou fuck up
this relationship,
"or youyou don't
get my citizenship,
I'll call the cops."
If it's proven that
she lied deliberately
to have me arrested,
could she be in trouble?
[indistinct chatter]
Your Honor, uh, if it's proven
that this, uh, victim is lying,
I wouldI would
ask the court
I mean this is
like the second time.
I mean, if she's
I mean, I'd like her to be
thrown in jail for contempt.
She's making this
entire thing up. And if I
Worse than
what Lorena did to me,
what my second wife did
Lost everything. In and out
of jail for ten months.
So, judge revoked my probation.
Then had to do the rest
of the time in Lovelock
where O.J. was.
So I spent,
uh, 15 months there.
When I was in prison,
I got, uhuhattacked.
Some guy clocked me from behind
and knocked me out.
They said, "Well, you don't hit,
you know, the sisters.
You don't hit the women,"
or whatever.
So I got attacked
a few times.
Being a well-known person,
if you're
in the prison system
or jail,
you'reyou're a target.
Male reporter:
The body of 34-year-old
Nicole Brown Simpson,
ex-wife of O.J. Simpson,
was found after midnight
on the sidewalk
outside her
West Los Angeles home.
Bernie Sanders: Mr. Speaker,
it is disturbing
that the death of Nicole Simpson
should be necessary
to force us to take notice
of the horror
of domestic violence.
I vigorously support
the Violence Against Women Act.
We urgently need
the $1.8 billion in this bill
to combat the epidemic
of violence against women
on the streets
and in the homes of America.
[camera clicks]
The Violence Against Women Act
was a landmark piece
of legislation that told police,
"You need
to take this seriously."
And it sent a signal
to the country as a whole
domestic violence is a crime.
This is something that
we need to tackle as a country.
Gandy: There had really
never been anything
that addressed a women's issue
that had actual money behind it.
Of course,
what happened then,
was that in the '94 elections
that fall,
Newt Gingrich swept in
and turned the House Republican
from Democrat.
Even though the act was passed,
and the money was authorized,
House Republicans refused
to appropriate the money.
Kim Masters:
We've had this problem
going from then until now.
There's progress for feminism,
and then there's
this other current
moving in the opposite
You wonderare we really
gonna make a change?
Or were we just
having a moment,
and then everybody then goes
back to how it was before?
Women: We won't go back!
We're here to confront
and protest
all of the forms
of violence against women.
And we're also here
to send a message
to Newt Gingrich and his cronies
back here behind me
that we won't go back!
It then took a lot of public
until finally in 1995,
there was funding
for the Violence
Against Women Act.
[crickets chirping]
Amalin Hoyt:
I had a party at my house
and we invited
Lorena and her family.
We were being too loud and it
was like 1:00 in the morning.
The police showed up.
And her father says,
"Amalin, wait.
Let Lorena answer the door."
She was like, "No, Dad!"
The parents were all excited
about the daughter
being kind of famous.
Lorena: Everybody thought
that after the trial,
everybody's gonna be fine
andand okay,
but my family and myself,
we have to go through a lot.
After the trial,
my family came from Venezuela.
So I know
I have the support,
but they didn't
have the legal status
to work
in the United States.
I felt obligated
to help my family,
but I also felt that
all I wanted to do
was, uh, go back to school
and, obviously, have a job.
What happened had a big effect
on my family.
They didn't
know how to handle it.
There was a lot of tension.
At one point, you know,
my family and I,
we just didn't talk.
They didn't know
how to help me.
They wanted to help me,
but they didn't know how to.
[birds twittering]
I think it was
after a year or so,
the turning point
in my life came.
I started to go to shelters
and talk about my experience
as a victim
of domestic violence.
It was difficult at times
toto share the stories,
but the more I talked to them,
the more I found out that
their stories
are the same as mine.
I realized that I'm not alone,
and I wanted to keep
talking more about it.
I was getting
stronger and stronger.
I was healing.
And that's what lift me up,
and that's how I did it.
Look, I kinda
kinda relate to Lorena,
'cause mymy mother
went through the same thing.
There was a lot of anger
in my family with my dad
and he was abusive.
My uncles, you know,
would come over and beat him up
because he was
being violent or touching
their sister or
he ended up leaving,
and, um, my mother
had a mental breakdown.
Very, very loving lady,
but, um
she couldn't handle
taking care of the children
and being
in the condition she was in.
Father left us,
so we lived in a ghetto.
At the time,
there was a lot of hatred there.
We were attacked
by, uh, African Americans
'cause we were the only white
family in a black community.
And, uh, my mother
was raped twitwice,
and, they, uh, attacked me,
knocked me down,
busted my head open.
They burned down our house,
so my uncle had to come save us.
Me and my two brothers
were brought
into my
aunt and uncle's family.
There were six boys,
um, so we all
grew up together.
My biological mother,
she would come around sometimes
during the holidays.
But sheshe didn't come around,
uh, that much, uh, after that.
Pretty muchpretty much
kept to herself.
And, uh
Then we had
aa pedophile uncle
that kind of abused us.
We were six, seven, eight.
He's passed away now,
but you know, we kinda
we were young and did alcohol
and was involved and, you know
he, you know,
molestmolested some of us
and, you know
we don't talk about it.
You know? So, uh
Yeah, so
Lorena: My path
to the American dream
had a lot of bumps,
but nothing really stopped me
from getting it.
So I decided
to go to school.
I went to college
and I met David.
We start as friends
and then our relationship grew.
The relationship
changed my life
because he showed kindness
and, uh, loyalty andand it was
very important for me.
Friendship turned into love.
David Bellinger:
Ever since I've known her,
she's always tried to help
women and children.
20-something years old,
you know,
struggling, but also finding
a way to go to the local shelter
and buy, you know,
eight kids and their parents
Christmas presents.
She's not the messenger.
She's the one that goes in
and gets the stuff done.
She's making the phone call,
or she's gonna be the one
meeting the women.
She gives these women hope.
And that's
the most important thing
is she's there for 'em.
I basically serve people.
To me,
that was very important
toto give, you know
made you take it, though?
I mean, you cut it offwhy you
leave with it? That's what I
Youyou didn't think to just
like lay it on the pillow,
so when he wake up
you wake up
I look at the media
as a double-edged sword.
If I have a comedian
like Steve Harvey, for example,
I understand
what I was getting into
when I got an invitation
from him.
But when you threw it
out the window, though
- Yeah.
- that's the part
- Now we got to go find it.
- Yes.
Lorena: I knew that the jokes
are gonna be there,
but as long
as I shine a light on the issue
of domestic violence,
how bad it is,
it's worth it.
Well, I'm glad
that after 22 years,
you still laugh about it.
And I'm here to tell you,
and to tell everyone,
what happened when a woman
gets abused by a man.
[cheers and applause]
I went through the whole ordeal
to have women understand that
that they're not alone,
and they can escape domestic
violence if they need to,
and claim their lives again
like I did.
These are letters
that John has sent to me.
Some of them
I haven't opened.
So it says,
"Dear Lorena,
"I miss you very much,
"and if there was a choice
to have any woman in the world,
"it will be you.
"I love my wife.
"I love youryour heart,
"and I love you very much.
"From your cold,
unsensitive husband
"I just wanted
to let you know
"that I thought
about you today,
"and like always,
it made me smile.
"You are also
in my dreams.
Love always, John."
"Lorena, do you remember
when you told me
"that I didn't know
how to treat a woman?
"Well, you were right.
"I didn't know how
to treat or love you.
"I did take a long hard look
at myself,
"and I deeply regret
being the way I was.
"And I think it has
a lot to do with being
"a coldhearted,
combat warrior.
"That's the way
I always felt.
"I should've been
a kind, caring, and sensitive,
loving, unselfish husband
that understand my wife."
And he signed it
"Your Eternal Flame."
Through all the years he have
tried to keep in touch with me
by sending me,
on Valentine's, cards,
and, uh, "I love you."
Sending correspondence
to the places
that I used to work.
And why would he do this?
You know.
Why would he
just keep following me?
I think
she contacted me first.
Uh, andand she
basically wanted to know
how much money I had
and this and that,
so, um, I really
didn't get into it.
And then later, I tried
to contact her for closure.
Yeah, I wishwish we could've
done things differently.
we could've talked,
wish we could've
figured things out,
had a family together.
Me and Lorena
getting back together,
that would be the ultimate love,
the ultimate forgiveness
that we, you know,
sit down and reason things out,
and basically go over
everything we went through,
and say, "You know what?
We were young.
There's a lot we didn't know."
Bury the hatchet, so to speak.
I mean, it'syou know,
leave me alone.
I mean, it'sit's like,
I cut his penis off.
I mean, just leave me alone.
David Kaplan: This story
was a modern love story.
Boy meets girl,
boy falls in love with girl,
boy marries girl,
boy abuses girl,
girl cuts off boy's penis,
national controversy
and trial ensue.
Every man was imagining,
"What would this be like
if this happened to me?"
Every woman was wondering
what it would take
to do something like that,
and for many of them,
they knew.
Fletcher: Over the years,
I've come to see
how people could flip out,
'cause I've come to that point
a couple times to myself,
where I could've
went over the edge
and done something.
I'm glad I didn't,
but eventually, you get there
and you understand.
They can cut
a million clits off in Africa,
and nobody hears a word.
Cut one dick off, and the whole
fuckin' country stops.
You know?
It's a man's world.
If Lorena's story hit today,
Fox News would take the place
of Howard Stern,
and the 24-hour news cycle
would focus on what she did
rather than what he did.
[engine revs]
What it meant in 1993
is not that different
from what it means today.
There is a battle
of the sexes.
We have just seen a whole
'nother supercharged element
with all
of the Harvey Weinstein,
and Trump
in the White House.
It's the same story.
It's that we never
got to a point of
anything that's
truly equality.
Keegan: We were being
entertained on the fodder
of someone else's
real, human suffering.
It's still going on.
And I don't know
when we're gonna wake up.
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