There is absolutely no question that some men desperately need to change their attitude towards women. More to the point, some men need to cease eyeing women as sexual objects, and treating them accordingly.
There is no doubt that some men use their wealth, authority or whatever other advantage they might have to abuse women over whom they have some degree of control, or whose careers they can advance, as they always have.
It is hardly breaking news that this has long applied in Hollywood, although few would have suspected that it apparently existed, albeit to a much lesser extent, within a leading New Zealand law firm.
New Zealand will hopefully never produce such egregious examples of appalling behaviour as allegedly committed by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein (currently no more than allegations, but so much smoke will inevitably lead to a great deal of fire) and US gymnastic coach Larry Nassar.
The allegations now surfacing in connection with Wellington law firm Russell McVeagh might lead us a short distance down a similar path — it is unlikely that attitudes towards women in this country are vastly different to those elsewhere, although one would hope that we have yet to descend to those depths.
It is difficult to believe that a man standing for high political office in this country would prove as impervious to career-destroying repercussions of "locker room talk" as Donald Trump did during his presidential campaign, immunity that has continued since he was elected.
Hopefully we are nearing a point where we will see a re-setting of moral values, here if not in America, but those who are leading the charge need to restrain themselves. The debate, if that's what it is, has descended into hysteria, and that helps no one, least of all vulnerable women or those who are most stridently claiming that women are victims of a culture of abuse.
We have now reached the farcical point where a Scottish poet has publicly accused her much more illustrious predecessor, Robbie Burns, of being a rapist. The accusation is seemingly based on a letter he wrote to a friend in 1788, describing in some detail a vigorous romp with his lover, who apparently was heavily pregnant at the time.
The letter more than hinted at consensuality, but not enough to placate Liz Lochhead, who sees "this disgraceful sexual boast as seeming very like rape," and "very, very Weinsteinian."
Burns biographer Robert Crawford had already labelled the poet as Weinsteinian, while another critic had called him a rapist. The fact that Burns fathered 12 children by four women might say something about his character, although that's a feat that is not unheard of in 21st century New Zealand, but to use that as evidence of rape is ridiculous.
Not that wild exaggeration is the preserve of Scottish poets. Last week Wellington City councillor Fleur Fitzsimons was reported as using the scandal now enveloping Russell McVeagh as the basis of a claim that the complaints coming out of that firm were the tip of the iceberg, in that the legal profession was harbouring an epidemic of "sexual violence."
Presumably sexual violence takes us a great deal further than the boorish behaviour that started this discussion, but even if Cr Fitzsimons had restricted herself to a lesser standard of impropriety than that, she needs to present some sort of evidence if she hopes to be taken seriously.
What we understood last week was that complaints had been made two years ago regarding the behaviour of two senior male lawyers at a Christmas party and a bar.
Further allegations have been made since then, including claims of a "booze culture" within the firm, but we were told that the incidents initially complained of had been investigated, one of them by the police. The lawyers concerned had left the firm, and the police had not charged anyone. The file on one of those incidents was still 'open,' however, suggesting perhaps that the investigation will be revived if someone comes up with further evidence.
The two lawyers concerned are reportedly working elsewhere, as lawyers, suggesting either that their offending was not serious enough to kill their careers, or that senior male lawyers look after their own. We don't know which, although one imagines we soon will.
More worryingly, we now have our Minister for Women proposing to set up a sexual misconduct register, which will be used to compile complaints of sexual offending within the workplace in this country. That idea is fraught with danger.
For a start, it assumes that women always tell the truth. They do not. It assumes that women's motives will always be genuine when they report offending against them. They will not.
The potential for a woman to take revenge against a man for any kind of slight, real or imagined, personal or work-related, is obvious. There will also be potential for genuine misinterpretation of word or deed.
Last Tuesday's Malcolm Evans cartoon raised that possibility most eloquently. If you didn't see it, here it is:
A sexual misconduct register will achieve nothing positive, but could ruin the lives of many men, and some women, and their families, on the basis of untested allegations that may, or may not, arise from anything more than spite.
That is not the way to improve the lot of vulnerable women. For a start it might well make it harder for them to find jobs.
It is time some men grew up and began treating women with respect, the way they would like their wives, sisters and daughters to be treated.
That best way of achieving that, surely, is by recognising and applauding the attitudes displayed by the great majority of men, not by instilling fear of prosecution or public vilification.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns that represent the major contribution to civilisation by Harvey Weinstein and others of his ilk are clearly well intended, and will hopefully encourage some men to reassess their behaviour, and change it. If that happens, we will all benefit.
And, if one dare say it, while common human decency should be non-negotiable, some women might learn that respect needs to be earned, or at least nurtured.
Those who wish to create change would be doing themselves, and their cause, a favour if they stopped exaggerating, argued on the basis of facts as opposed to rumour and innuendo, and resisted the urge to pursue their goals by the imposition of legal measures that would simply swing the balance of power away from badly behaved men to malevolently motivated women.
As every parent knows, good behaviour is best instilled by example, not threats. And most children have a keen sense of justice; they will (or should) respond to correction when it is warranted, but won't when it is not. They simply become resentful, and the less than helpful contributions made by the Scottish poet and our Minister for Women pave the away for resentment on a grand scale.