It's been almost two full decades since Lorena Bobbitt stood trial for mutilating her husband, but it is only just now that the culture is starting to reckon with the case. The Amazon docuseries Lorena explores the country's treatment of the now infamous Lorena Bobbitt story, but has the series said all it wants to say or will there be a Season 2 of Lorena?
While Bobbit isn't the first piece of media to tackle the Bobbitt case, its pedigree sets it apart from other documentaries. The documentary is streaming on one of the world's most popular streaming platforms, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and counts Oscar-winning director Jordan Peele among its executive producers. The docuseries features four hour-long episodes that examine not just the crime that captured the attention of the public, but the aftermath of the following criminal trials, a brief history on the public discourse around domestic abuse and spousal rape, and an examination of the sexism that pervaded coverage of the case.
While Lorena provides a comprehensive look at the case and how America and the world responded to the Bobbitt story in the early '90s, more could still happen that would justify a Season 2 of Lorena, or at least a follow-up of some kind.
While the crime at the core of Lorena occurred in 1993, Bobbitt is still speaking out on behalf of the victims of domestic violence over 25 years later just as she did during her trial. Appearing on The View a few days prior to the premiere of Lorena, Bobbitt explained that her concerns about abuse towards women, which she spoke publicly of following her attack on her husband, have stayed with her, and exist today as concern for her daughter's well-being. "As a mother," she said, "I have a child and eventually she's going to go to college. And I want my child to feel safe ... laws need to change and conversations about domestic violence need to be taken more seriously."
If Lorena Bobbitt's activism takes off and reaches a high level of awareness and global discourse, that could warrant the documentary to feature an additional episode or supplement to cover how her life has changed following the release of Lorena.
It's not uncommon for documentaries to feature follow-ups or companion films to fill in the audience about how the documentary itself has shifted the world that the original documentary attempted to depict. Seminal true crime series The Staircase premiered in 2004, and later released batches of new episodes in 2013 and later in 2018 providing updates on the case. The devastatingly sad documentary Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father premiered in 2008, but a follow-up short documentary entitled The Legacy of Dear Zachary: A Journey to Change Law was was published on Youtube in 2013 to show the impact that the film had on Canadian criminal code.
If the release of Lorena causes a genuine shift in people's memory of the case and happens to result in a reassessment of how people treat cases of domestic abuse and violence against women, then a follow-up episode could be warranted. Until then, however, it seems likely that Lorena Bobbitt will continue to fight for others and seek justice whether or not she's being filmed for a documentary.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.