The And European Women's Rule Of The Congo Free State

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Congolese and European women encouraged opposition to King Leopold II’s rule of the Congo Free State. In the Congo women endured and reported the violent actions of the colonial power. Their treatment prompted rebellions within the Congo and their powerful testimony brought european support to the Congo’s plight. In Europe Alice Harris and others took a prominent role in the campaign for Congo reform. Through her photographs and public speeches Harris herself brought much support to the movement. The scandal surrounding another European woman, Caroline the french prostitute, lost Leopold and his colony much support within Belgium and made it much harder for him to mount a defense against the CRA’s attacks, aiding the opposition to the État Indépendant du Congo. Through their actions, treatment and circumstances women inspired opposition to King Leopold’s harsh rule of the Congo Free State. In the Congo Free State women were kidnaped by the Force Publique and company militias and their return was contingent on the men laboring for the State. Often women were raped, killed, starved, mutilated, or forced to work as prostitutes by the Force Publique and white colonial officials like Eugène Rommel(126). On the fifth of December 1893 Nzansu, a local chief, lead a rebellion and killed Rommel and other colonial officials. This rebellion, and rebellions like it, were instigated by the official state policy of kidnapping women and children to force men to work. Swedish Missionary
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