ON Thursday night the news broke that Alex Salmond was facing sexual misconduct allegations over incidents that supposedly happened while he was first minister and have since been passed to the police. In response, Alex Salmond issued a strongly worded denial and indicated he had launched legal proceedings over the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government Leslie Evans’s handling of the investigation.

On Friday, Nicola Sturgeon responded to the news in a comprehensive statement she posted on Twitter.

Such a statement must have been a difficult one to compose given the circumstances the First Minister finds herself in and the fact that Alex Salmond is a long-standing and close friend.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond demands Scottish Government investigate leaking of harassment inquiry

Despite that, she managed to gauge the correct tone and sentiment in what was a measured and stateswomen-like response. It was honest: she pointed out an obvious truth – one which other politicians may have skirted around or not mentioned at all.

She said that her relationship with Alex Salmond made this an “extremely difficult’’ situation to come to terms with. Crucially, she highlighted the importance of due process and said that complaints had been made, and was such, they could not be “swept under the rug’’.

While it is the tendency of social media users and political commentators – like me – to rush to opine on every twist and turn of politics and every sniff of a scandal, we should resist that urge.

We know only what has been put out in official statements by Salmond, Sturgeon and the Permanent Secretary. Everything else is speculation and assumption.

Given the high-profile nature of this story and the legal wrangling involved, it will likely dominate the news for weeks to come. Removing the personalities and politics involved: this is a case that should be treated as any other.

The Scottish Government is rightly praised for its efforts towards eradicating gender inequality. Nicola Sturgeon has put her cards firmly on the table and has signalled that this a personal priority for her.

At the beginning of the year, when stories of sexual harassment involving politicians began to surface, both Holyrood and Westminster pledged to assess their own reporting procedures to see how they could be strengthened.

That process cannot be influenced – or seen to be influenced – through fear or favour.

Sexual harassment, abuse, assault and misconduct is not a partisan issue. It is not the preserve of any race, religion or party rosette.

It’s for that reason that party-political posturing – from wherever it comes – is so disappointing and counter-productive. Whether it’s from those who revel in an accusation against opponents but stay quiet when men from their party are accused, or those that automatically assume that a woman must be lying because they don’t want to believe somebody on their “side” is capable of wrongdoing – such behaviour is unhelpful and hypocritical.

In all cases of sexual harassment, from wherever they come, we need a fair investigation v that is consistently applied: where conclusions are drawn and any relevant action taken in accordance with the law.

When women began to speak up about their experiences at the height of the #MeToo campaign, many men expressed disbelief that so many women had faced sexual abuses.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond denies harassment claims but Nicola Sturgeon says they can't be ignored

I’d urge those who are quick to make assumptions about the women in cases which involve high-profile men to consider how their words may affect not only those involved, but others reading.

Scotland has come a long way in challenging the culture that underpins inequality, but we’ve still got some way to go.

In the tumultuous weeks ahead, those of all political persuasions should try to keep a cool head. We are ill-served by bombastic rhetoric and political point-scoring when the matters at hand require far more serious consideration.