Steve Harvey Talks to Lorena Bobbitt, Woman Who Cut off Husband’s Penis; Makes It About Him
Steve Harvey had a “Where Are They Now? Lovers Who Lost It” segment on his show, where he spoke to Lorena Bobbitt who gained notoriety in the ’90s for cutting off her husband’s penis. Bobbitt was found not guilty for reason of temporary insanity.
Bobbitt spoke about her story and talked about how she dealt with her husband’s alcoholism, his cheating, and his physical and mental abuse. In addition, she was isolated from her family, and police failed to help her. Bobbitt says that she was dealing with “battered wife syndrome,” and the fear and shame pushed her to what she did.
When she speaks, you can see how the story was twisted into something that vilified her as “crazy” or “hysterical.” Bobbitt was acting from a place where she was a victim of domestic abuse and wasn’t aware of shelters and resources. While I’m glad that Steve Harvey’s show gave her a platform to talk about how it happened, some aspects of how the story is presented are a bit troubling.
First, the description of the video calls it a “hilarious and harrowing story.” I understand praising Bobbitt as a survivor, but I don’t think she’s proud of her actions. Maybe I’m a buzzkill, but I fail to see a lot of humor this story about a woman who’s pushed to violence after continuous physical and mental abuse. There are also moments where Harvey jumps into her talking to make laughs out of how uncomfortable the story makes him.
There are audience giggles as Harvey buries his face into his hands at her words. By inserting himself into the narrative of a woman talking about her abuse to make it about how he feels, Harvey makes Bobbitt’s story into more of a spectacle or a punchline rather than a true and painful story. You can see Bobbitt trying to get a few words in as Harvey goes on his tirade, and it’s very awkward.
She goes back and graciously says that, while there might be some “humor,” she wants to use her story to shine a light on domestic violence. For what it’s worth, he acknowledges her actions came from “defending herself” and thanks her for her honesty at the end. Lorena Bobbitt has since started a new, happy family and an organization for abused women and children called Lorena’s Red Wagon.
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org