The Scarlet Scourge

I am fighting
for weeping women
who have done no wrong:

the cry of innocent babes
too young to know how
they suffer – or why.

Ettie Rout

Source: Ettie Rout was a revolutionary sex reformer trying to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to Anzac soldiers during WW1. Many thousands of diseased soldiers were dishonourably discharged and sent home before ever reaching the front lines, threatening  Australia’s contribution to the war effort. Ettie handed out condoms and pamphlets to soldiers on leave in Cairo, Paris and London, opened a safe brothel, and arranged healthy activities for lonely soldiers, including walks in the countryside. Ettie earned a medal for her work in France, but in New Zealand, it was illegal to mention her name and several  organisations tried to ban her entry into Australia after the war, despite saving thousands of lives, not only of soldiers, but also as a consequence, their wives and children back home. She took a lethal dose of quinine in 1936

Thanks to Monash University: World War 1: A History in 100 Stories & Futurelearn


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