About a month ago, an exotic dancer accused three members of the Duke lacrosse team of choking, raping and sodomizing her.
Since the story broke, I've been trying not to rush to judgment and focus on the facts. The problem is, we still just don't know a lot of the facts.
We know the accuser is black. She's a working-class, single mom. She's a part-time student at North Carolina Central University. We know she was hired to strip at a Duke lacrosse party.
We know the accused players are white. One of the teammates sent a disturbing e-mail joking about "skinning women". They are jocks at Duke. Some of them have been in trouble for drinking. They've been portrayed as the entitled children of privilege.
It's a perfect media storm. The Duke rape scandal has it all: race, class and gender. And now it has two suspects. Two Duke players were arrested a few hours ago:
"Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, both 20-year-old sophomores, have been charged with first-degree rape, first-degree forcible rape and kidnapping, the officials said. Bond was set for $400,000 for each man."
Brutal Rape or Cruel Hoax? Lots of unanswered questions...
We don't know enough to know with certainty what did or did not happen that night. Until we know more, we have to let the criminal justice system take its course. Still, there are lots of unanswered questions.
The defense attorneys have been asking a lot of pointed questions. What about the photos? What do the 911 calls tell us about her credibility? Was she drunk? What about the lack of DNA evidence? Should it matter that usually there is no DNA evidence in 75 percent to 80 percent of sexual assaults?
Frankly, I admit, I am really curious about her fingernails. If there was a violent struggle, why isn't there skin or DNA on the nails?
I'm not sure what to make about the security guard's story. The guard saw the accuser soon after the alleged attack. The guard claims the dancer didn't mentioned being raped.
We are starting to hear reports from the other dancer. Will her story line up with the accusers?
What about the third suspect? Is there an unindicted co-conspirator working with the police to make their case?
What should we call her? Should the media name her?
I'm also wondering what we should call her? Victim? Accuser? Single mom? Exotic dancer? Part-time student? Stripper? If you are Tucker Carlson, you call her a "crypto-hooker" and if you are Rush Limbaugh, she's a "ho".
I'm personally not a fan of the name calling but I do wonder about calling her everything BUT her name. Some argue that naming her would lessen the stigma associated with rape. Others argue naming her is more fair because it levels the playing field between the accuser and the accused.
Now that we know their names, will the media out the accuser? That's one of the next big battles in this perfect media storm.