The government banned the topic of soldier venereal disease from the newspapers. The civilians back home did not find out. Consequently, this worked as a ban on mention of Ettie Rout. She was more or less persona non grata in New Zealand as a result.
Ettie left for Egypt in late 1915. She headed the New Zealand Volunteer Sisterhood, which she organised. In 1916 she opened soldiers’ canteens in Egypt. The following year, she went to Britain. Her aim was to convince the NZEF to introduce safe sex measures to combat the high VD rate. In 1918 she went to Paris and converted a licenced house into a safe sex brothel. She ‘supervised’ this while Madame Yvonne ran it. She also supplied the clients, standing on the platform of the Gare du Nord, greeting New Zealanders and Australians as they arrived from the front and handing out a card for Madame Yvonne’s which, as the card put it, ‘makes safe and suitable provision for the sexual needs of the troops’. In 1919-20 she ran a Red Cross depot in Villers Bretonneux, a ruined town on the Somme, as it rebuilt post-war.
She settled in London and having failed to convince the British to introduce New Zealand’s wartime methods in civilian life, wrote books on her wartime experience, safe sex and contraception, Maori symbolism and diet.