The owner of The Battered Wife fish and chips shop in far north Queensland has defended her controversial business name amid an online backlash and criticism from politicians in State Parliament, saying she is a domestic violence survivor herself.
On a day when Queensland MPs from all sides attended a rally to remember women killed in domestic violence incidents, Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said she was appalled by the shop’s name.
“That business is completely out of step with what [the] community’s expectations are,” Ms D’Ath said.
“We’re talking about respect, we are talking about changing culture. There’s nothing funny about a statement like that.”
Battered Wife fish and chips Facebook post: Let’s have it! Cmon…? bring it on
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the name was totally inappropriate.
“It is completely unacceptable in our community that we have anything that goes towards an encouragement of violence towards women,” Ms Frecklington said.
A barrage of Facebook posts over the past 24 hours have described the store name as “disgusting”, and said it “trivialises” domestic violence.
It followed other social media posts by groups including the Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL), which said the shop name was not clever or funny.
“This indicates 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,” WEL said on Facebook.
But store owner Carolyn Kerr posted a photo of herself with a black eye, saying she had recently stepped in to protect a woman in a bad situation.
“Domestic violence is not a joke,” she wrote.
Owner a former policewoman
Ms Kerr told the ABC she was a former policewoman and a domestic violence survivor, and named her business more than a year ago to raise awareness of the issue.
“I’ve been around domestic violence — I was a copper 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’,” she said.
She said she had felt trapped in an abusive relationship.
“Yeah, not as bad as a lot of people, but define the degree and define bad. At the end of the day I found myself with my brain telling me ‘what the devil are you doing, get out, why are you here?’ and the heart’s going ‘but I love him, he’ll change’, and it just really mucks with your psyche.
“I’m certainly not a victim anymore and I look at what I’ve built and I’m so proud of myself for building what I have.
And if I can make a difference and if people are listening to this — stop slapping your missus, stop belting your husband if that’s the case. Look at your kids and work out what’s best.”
“All these knockers in the last 24 hours saying that I’m promoting domestic violence, it’s quite the opposite.
She explained the reasons behind her business name.
“I batter fish, I’m married to my business and I want to make a difference.”
Ms Kerr said she did not understand why people who said they opposed domestic violence were abusing and attacking her online.
Katter’s Australia Party (KAP) MP Shane Knuth said the shop was “full to the brim” when he was in the area two weeks ago.
“So there is no offence with regards to the community and the name,” Mr Knuth said.
Fellow KAP MP Nick Dametto said the name was clever marketing.
“Has it got bad taste? Maybe. But has it got some media attention? Absolutely,” Mr Dametto said.
“Right now, everyone’s either going to be looking at this store or walking in to check how good these fish and chips are.”