When Carolyn Kerr named her Far North Queensland fish and chip shop “The Battered Wife”, the former cop was trying to start a dialogue around domestic violence. Instead an “abusive witch hunt” has killed her small business.
Ms Kerr made headlines in November when a photo of her Innisfail shopfront, depicting the words “The Battered Wife … The only battering anyone need know”, was posted on social media.
The words divided Australia after domestic violence groups accused Ms Kerr of making light of men hitting women. A number of Queensland politicians also condemned the name.
But less than three months after the uproar, Ms Kerr has taken to social media to post a tearful video explaining why she’s shutting up shop.
“It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that The Battered Wife will cease trading on Monday,” Ms Kerr, a survivor of domestic violence herself, wrote.
Through tears, Ms Kerr said her decision to close was one made with “deep, deep sadness”.
“I’ve been the subject of an abusive witch hunt by a not-for-profit organisation who are anti-abuse however they threatened to throw bricks through my window, they complained to ASIC to have my business name revoked but I got through that one,” she said.
Since opening her shop in 2017, Ms Kerr was forced to regularly defend the business’s name but an upcoming audit from Fair Work has left the Queenslander unable to stay open.
“I don’t know how much the accountant is going to cost me to get the information together just to get through the hoops,” she said.
“I just can’t see any way that I can trade my way through it.”
The Innisfail business is being sold for $69,000 however Ms Kerr has offered up the entire property, including a house behind the shop, for $330,000.
“Virtually everything you see is for sale,” Ms Kerr said.
“My biggest disappointment is informing my team that they no longer have a job.”
Ms Kerr was interviewed by Today last year and labelled suggestions her shop name was promoting domestic violence as “ludicrous”.
“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 I was promoting it … No-one is going to walk past my shop and say, ‘The Battered Wife. Hey, how about we take some advice on this?’” Ms Kerr said.
“It is just ludicrous. The way it has been misconstrued is quite offensive.
“It is disappointing that the mentality of the people who have thrown this at me is that they condemn the violence. They condemn domestic violence but they are using that same intimidation and abusive tactics … They are no better than anyone else.”
She explained on Today how she came up with the name.
“Originally it was suggested to me as a little bit of a joke. But it seemed, yeah, like an interesting option with a bit of spark, you know,” she said.
“Something that could provoke questions, could provoke curiosity. But also the play on words for the shop itself, being a fish and chip shop.”
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, please call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.