Man’s porn addiction inspires new lease on life and women

Joel Conway had his first encounter with pornography when was 13 years old.

Joel Conway had his first encounter with pornography when was 13 years old.

He was searching online for pictures of “flashy” cars, such as Ferraris, when he stumbled across several images and videos of hard core pornography.

“When that happened I was instantly addicted, it just really sunk in and I got trapped in this world of all the pop-ups that you couldn’t close down,” Conway said. “It didn’t feel like an attack, it felt like a rush . . . there was an excitement around that type of content.”

It was that experience that lead Conway to a decade-long addiction with porn.

Conway admitted he would look at porn every day and it quickly became the norm in his daily routine.

However, it began to have a negative effect on other aspects of his life. Conway began to have skewed perspectives of women, so much so that it changed how he interacted with everybody.

“I had the perspective that was very patriarchal. That everything was very selfish and all about me,” Conway said. “I didn’t have that level of respect even for women of authority.”

The turning point for Conway  — when he decided to get help for his addiction — was when he was at a conference in Texas, attending a session with a female motivational speaker when he realized he could not listen to her.

“I realized there was something there that just wasn’t right and a lot of it was deeply-seated in my connection with porn and the ideology that women are less than,” he said.

Now Conway has his addiction under control.

He is the founder of the Fortress Foundation, a  non-profit organization that aims to end exploitation and gender-based violence. He is also the executive producer of the new short film, Aspirations.

Through the film, Conway hopes to shed light on the human trafficking of youth and women, an industry which is perpetuated through pornography, and inspire others to action.

“I want people to have a better understanding of what we’re dealing with and how this isn’t a normal thing to have in every single city. It’s not just overseas, human trafficking is here in your hometown,” said Esquimalt’s Peter Wilson, the youth director with the foundation, who worked on the film.

There is a gala fundraiser where the film will premiere on Thursday, May 5 at the Parkside Victoria Hotel. For more information visit fortress-foundation.com.