Ettie Rout

Ettie Rout

New Zealand's Safer Sex Pioneer

Book - 2015
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Ettie Rout gave New Zealand the best sexual health system when its army adopted her prophylactic kit and made every soldier going on leave take one, while she was banned from the pages of the newspapers so New Zealanders would not find out. In Paris, having transformed Madame Yvonne's into a safer sex brothel, she met soldiers at the railway station and convinced them to go there if they chose to have sex. Armed with a wicked sense of humour, an intolerance of hypocrisy and boundless energy, Ettie Rout proved the case for safer sex decades before the term was coined and the soldiers loved her for it. This book celebrates an unlikely heroine of the First World War who is now internationally recognised for waging a successful public health crusade. A woman way ahead of her time.
Publisher: New Zealand : 2015. Penguin,
ISBN: 9780143573241
Branch Call Number: B 613.95092 ROUT
Characteristics: 256 pages : illustrations, maps. portraits ; 21 cm


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Jun 20, 2017

Highly recommended book about an Australian/New Zealand woman, born with ideals well ahead of her time. Ettie’s controversial work in organising a prophylactic kit to protect servicemen against sexually transmitted disease whilst serving in World War One resulted in her being labelled 'guardian angel of the ANZACS' by a French Doctor. Her friend H. G. Wells regarded her as an 'unforgettable heroine' and mentioned her in one of his novels. At the other end of the spectra a bishop, speaking in the House of Lords, called her 'the most wicked woman in Britain'.

This book will appeal to people with an interest in the history of World War One. However the subject matter is of a completely different essence than the normal “run of the mill” history tale. It relates to Ettie campaigning & coming up with a solution for the serious sexual health problems that the servicemen encountered overseas from contracting STD after frequenting unclean brothels. This resulted in serious illness and spreading the disease back to their wives & loved ones at home.

Ettie Rout was born in Launceston, Tasmania, on 24 February 1877. The Rout family sailed for New Zealand at the end of 1884, and settled in Wellington.

Ettie wrote a number of books, among them "Safe marriage a contraceptive and prophylactic manual for women". This book was banned in New Zealand in 1923, but was published in Britain and Australia, becoming a no 1 best seller in Great Britain.

Although Ettie Rout's efforts were of great benefit to New Zealand, Australia & Britain, she was ignored & treated very badly by her New Zealand countrymen where the women shunned, jeered & even spat at her for her efforts in trying to help, advise & protect them, such a very sad reflection of the hypocritical attitudes of her day.

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