The story of one single woman who survived a horrific sex act with her husband and became a household name in the internet age is a testament to just how easy it is to be swept up in the moment.
“You don’t even have to be the most educated person,” says the unnamed woman who goes by the handle “thefoolishgirl.”
“You just have to feel the way the people around you feel.”
Like any other modern-day social phenomenon, the term “foolishly” has become a catchall term for many people who don’t have the knowledge, skills, or experience to protect themselves against STDs.
But, the girl who goes under the name of thefoolishedgirl says, the idea of “fools” and “fears” has always existed.
And she believes that it is part of a larger societal problem.
“People are afraid to be vulnerable because they’re scared of being rejected,” she explains.
“When you’re like everyoneelse, and that’s what you are, you don’t really know who is going to reject you.”
In the wake of the 2016 Las Vegas mass shooting, the internet exploded with news stories about people being attacked by strangers for being “uncomfortable” and for not wearing seatbelts, among other things.
Many people, including many men, were shocked that anyone would be so bold as to try and sexually assault someone.
The attacks didn’t end with the mass shooting.
In recent years, the number of sexually transmitted diseases has skyrocketed and spread like wildfire, with new strains emerging in different parts of the world.
“We’ve seen this plague of infections, the spread of new infections, and people are scared to get tested because they don’t want to be a burden on the system,” says Katie Zoladz, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of California, San Diego, who has researched the phenomenon.
“The problem with people who think that they are invincible is that they aren’t.
There’s a risk of becoming a burden to the system, and being rejected, which is something you have to deal with.
The more you get rejected, the more likely it is that you’ll become a burden.”
It’s not just the people who are hesitant to seek out testing that are afraid of being stigmatized, the woman explains.
There are other women who, by accident, get tested for STDs after getting in trouble with their husbands.
“They are scared of getting tested, they are scared that they might get pregnant,” she says.
“And, you know, the stigma is so strong.
I think that’s why people are afraid.”
She thinks the fear of testing is a result of a societal problem that is often hidden from the general population.
“It’s a way of people thinking, ‘This is normal,'” she explains, referring to the way people perceive the spread and spread of STDs through the internet.
“There’s no stigma associated with this.
There is a way that people talk about this and say, ‘Well, it’s normal.'”
It’s the social stigma that allows people to continue to feel safe, even when they know they have a potentially serious infection.
The problem is that it’s not only women who are being rejected.
The woman who went by the name thefoolsgirl says she has had other people tell her they didn’t want their partners to see their test results.
“I’ve had a lot of men say, I don’t know, ‘Oh, she’s going to be OK.’
It’s like they are thinking, I can be safe because I have my partner, or I can have her.’
And that’s not really the case.”
When it comes to stigma and secrecy, the fear that comes with STDs can be difficult to overcome.
The internet has given people an outlet to share their thoughts and feelings anonymously.
“A lot of the stuff that’s written online, it is like a safe space,” says Zolodz.
“So, when people come out and say they have an STD, they feel like they can say what they want, and nobody will judge them.
But that doesn’t work for everyone.
Some people are just not comfortable with it.”
Zolada says that the stigma surrounding STDs in the US has been particularly hard for young people.
“At some point, people who have had a bad experience with a partner may have the thought, ‘What if I had an STD?’
And that is very much a stigma, that is a big, huge deal.”
In many cases, stigma around STDs isn’t just a matter of personal shame.
The fear of stigma can lead to a person not wanting to seek medical care because they feel they are “unfit” to be treated.
For the girl from the foolsgirl, the only way to escape the stigma was to