Aussie eatery forced to close after backlash over name

Ms Carolyn Kerr, who owns The Battered Wife, said she chose the name to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Ms Carolyn Kerr, who owns The Battered Wife, said she chose the name to raise awareness about domestic violence.PHOTO: THE BATTERED WIFE/FACEBOOK

INNISFAIL (Queensland) • A fish and chips shop in Australia's Queensland state has been forced to shut down following months of criticism and boycott over its controversial name.

The Battered Wife, which had come under fire for its name last year, was slammed by the community, politicians and non-profit organisations for supposedly encouraging domestic violence.

The shop in the town of Innisfail is owned by Ms Carolyn Kerr, a former police officer who named her business after coming out of an abusive relationship in 2017.

She said she chose the name back then not to make light of the issue but to raise awareness, according to broadcaster ABC.

"I've been around domestic violence," she was quoted as saying. "I was a police officer way back when, and after that domestic violence liaison through courts, and then I found myself in a situation where I was in that as well and I just thought, 'you know, it's my little stand to try to make awareness'."

But she had to break it to her patrons via a Facebook video on Tuesday that the shop is ceasing operations before the end of the month.

The announcement came after Ms Kerr was told by an organisation that bricks would be thrown at her shop's window, among other threats. She did not name the organisation in the video.

TAKING A STAND

I've been around domestic violence. I was a police officer way back when, and after that domestic violence liaison through courts, and then I found myself in a situation where I was in that as well and I just thought, 'you know, it's my little stand to try to make awareness'.

MS CAROLYN KERR, a former police officer who named her business after coming out of an abusive relationship in 2017.

"With deep, deep sadness, I inform you that we will cease operations next week. As many of you know, I've been the subject of an abusive witch-hunt by a not-for-profit organisation," she said.

"They threatened to throw bricks at our window, complained to have our business name revoked... (and) complained to industrial relations and child protection services, anonymously of course, saying that I was employing kids and participating in child exploitation."

In 2017, The Battered Wife's official Facebook page shared a post clarifying that domestic violence is not a joke.

Ms Kerr also shared a picture of her with a black eye in the shop's official page, saying that she got it after stepping in and protecting a woman from an abusive partner.

Others, however, do not agree with her defence.

The Attorney-General of Queensland Yvette D'ath, for one, was horrified by the shop's name. "The business is completely out of step with what the community's expectations are," she said in the ABC report.

The latest blow that made Ms Kerr decide to close the business was when anonymous complaints were made to Australia's Fair Work Commission about the alleged exploitation.

"My biggest disappointment is informing my team that they no longer have a job," she said.

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2019, with the headline 'Aussie eatery forced to close after backlash over name'. Print Edition | Subscribe