A Queensland business owner has defended the controversial name of her fish and chip shop, The Battered Wife, after receiving an outpouring of complaints online.
Carolyn Kerr gave an emotional response to critics on Thursday morning after they accused her of making light of domestic violence and its seriousness in Australia. While the shop and its slogan of “the only battering you need know” has been in business for 15 months, it wasn’t until Tuesday that the store was forced into the spotlight when The Woman’s Electoral Lobby took aim at the name of the shop.
The Australian not-for-profit organisation claimed Kerr was making a joke out of the situation that has this year led to the death of 58 women across the country.
“This is a fish and chip shop in far north Queensland – it’s called ‘The Battered Wife’. This indicated the scope of things that need to change in Australia for us to really see societal and cultural change and a reduction in violence against women and children,” the post read. “This is not clever, or funny. Family violence is no joke.”
Speaking on The Today Show on Thursday morning, Kerr explained her reasoning around the name choice and how she was actually trying to raise awareness for domestic violence.
“I always knew it was going to be controversial, I accepted that,” she told host Georgie Gardner. “But it was suggested that I promoted it [domestic violence], that is so far from the truth, there is a lot of beautiful, intelligent women out there in really bad situations and to assume that I was making light of the subject, that’s ludicrous.”
As an ex-police officer and domestic violence survivor herself, Kerr said she knows all to well how terrible the issue is in Australia and that is exactly why she chose the name.
“It is a serious problem in our society and it needs help and no one seems to be standing up for it, this is my little way of digging my heels in a bit and saying enough is enough,” she said. “Our little shelter in Innisfail, I’ve been told, they have had their funding pretty much cut off. Up here there is virtually nothing. It’s so difficult, it’s heartbreaking to see the people go through this.”
Despite the backlash received, the Wangan resident explained that she has no intention of changing the name.
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“I’m sorry I’ve offended people because of it,”she said. “That was certainly not my intention, but at the end of the day we’ve got a serious problem in our society.”
A number of people showed their support for the woman, and further defended the business name.
“I think you are amazing and the name of your shop is the best, don’t let anyone else stop you from being the best woman ever,” one person wrote on Twitter.
While another added: “I think this ex-policewoman has the best intention for raising the raw ugliness of this damming issue, funding to assist against it, and awareness about its prevalence. A strange way of going about it, even she said so, but good on her.”
However, Kerr’s response did not satisfy the Women’s Electoral Lobby who hit back at her once again, claiming her reasoning makes no difference and the name is unacceptable.
“The owner defends her choice of the name and claims to have received a black eye from stepping in to defend a woman in danger,” the group wrote on Facebook. “To be honest, it’s probably time for her to just change the name and move on. WEL does not condone threats made to the owner or employees of the store. We support constructive change-making.”