Vishal: Tigers, Sexuality, and Rape

Let me introduce you to Vishal. He’s a 10-year-old white tiger at a zoo in India and the zookeepers there are trying to rape him.

Okay. That’s a little misleading. The zookeepers themselves are not trying to rape him, but they are trying to get the other tigers to. It’s not rape in the traditional sense, but still rape.

They want Vishal to mate with one of the female tigers, Rupa, but when he refused, they pumped him full of libido enhancers. They are trying to force him to mate with another tiger even after he has shown no interest. Whether it’s Rupa that he’s not interested in, or the sex, no one is sure, but they are considering trying again with another female tiger.

Experts have suggested that being bred in captivity has left Vishal with no knowledge or experience of mating, thus he is not understanding the signals that Rupa is sending him. Other experts have suggested that maybe he is interested, but is just too shy to do the do.

But what if it’s something else? Why are experts and zookeepers assuming that something is wrong with him? Maybe he’s not shy at all. Maybe he’s just not interested in Rupa (No offense, Rupa). If an alien species ever takes over our planet, and they match you up with another person and try to force you to have sex, how would you feel? If it’s someone you are attracted to, you’ll probably do it, just to get them to leave you alone. But if it’s someone you’re not attracted to, you’d be in the same situation as Vishal.

Did anyone at this zoo ever consider that Vishal might be gay? Maybe he’d be interested in a male tiger? Now, reader, I don’t know your orientation, but consider how you would feel if you were shut in a room with someone of the gender that you are not attracted to (sorry bi/pan people, just imagine a person you aren’t attracted to). Now, you can’t fully understand what the people who locked you in here want you to do because you don’t speak the same language. You might become friends with the person. You might share stories with the person. But will you have sex with them? Probably not, because you aren’t attracted to them.

When the evil-doers who locked you up notice that you aren’t having sex, they pump you full of drugs to try to increase your libido. They want to try to make you aroused enough to force you to want to have sex with this other person that your not attracted to. Also, you don’t have a condom or any birth control, so, if you are a male and female couple, you’ll probably make a baby, like Vishal and Rupa. If not, well, you could still get an STD.

It not really a desirable situation, is it? So why is it okay to do to Vishal?

Let’s consider another reason. The “experts” gave two, so I will too. Maybe Vishal is asexual. Maybe it doesn’t matter which tiger he gets matched up with, he still won’t want to mate with them. Perhaps it has nothing to do with Rupa at all. I’m sure Vishal thinks she is very pretty, but that doesn’t mean he wants to mate with her.

Imagine that you aren’t sexually attracted to anyone at all. If you’re not asexual this may be hard for you to do, but just try. Imagine we are still being locked up by those evil people from before. Now, if you aren’t attracted to anyone at all, it won’t matter who they shove into that room with you, you won’t want to have sex with them. It won’t matter how charming they are, or how many advances they make on you, you still won’t want to have sex.

In either of these situations, the evil-doers are forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to. That sounds like rape to me. And that is not okay. Imagine the fit that people would have if there was a news story about a guy who didn’t want to have sex with a girl, so doctors pumped him full of chemicals to try to force him to have sex with her. The internet would blow up. People would protest. Those doctors would be arrested.

But the same thing is happening to Vishal. Why is it okay to do to a tiger and not to humans?

Something to think about.

)O(

IFLScience article

BBC article

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