Domestic violence is no laughing matter. It's a sad fact that, even in 2019, in the US alone, a person becomes a victim of domestic violence every 20 minutes, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports. And historically speaking, women are a lot more likely to become victims of abuse than men, who, unfortunately, are usually the perpetrators.
But thanks to the #MeToo Movement, tolerance for such behavior is at an all-time low, with millions of people finally finding the courage to speak out against their abusers. This is no small act of bravery either, with victims of domestic violence often reporting symptoms of mental health conditions like PTSD, OCD and anxiety years after the attacks have taken place.
One fish 'n' chip shop was recently forced to close because of the link its name had to domestic violence:
So, when the name of one fish 'n' chip shop in Innisfail, Australia, became public knowledge, it only stood to reason that people would be more than a little miffed because of the connotations of "The Battered Wife".
However, as any fish 'n' chip connoisseur will tell you, a standout name is a must-have for any chip shop. Whether it's Nemo as is the case in my hometown (it's not the best choice, admittedly), or some of the world's most memorable examples including Oh my God, New Cod on the Block, and the name that puts the chippy in my hometown to shame, Frying Nemo.
As you can tell, the one thing which these names have in common is that they're truly awesome puns, and while this was clearly what the owner of The Battered Wife, Carolyn Kerr, intended to achieve with her shop name, unfortunately, in the post #MeToo world, it went down like a led balloon, eventually forcing the small business to close.
Sadly, Kerr's intention behind the controversial name wasn't to offend but make light of the fact that she is a survivor of domestic violence who overcame numerous obstacles - including problems with her health - to open up the business.
Kerr revealed, VT reports, that at the end of 2017, she found the courage to leave an abusive relationship, and as a former policewoman, she is no stranger to seeing first-hand how this kind of abuse affects people on a daily basis.
"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."
But while Kerr's intentions might have been good, this did nothing to quell the backlash which ensued when the name of her shop became public knowledge. The Red Heart Campaign, an organization which aims to give domestic violence survivors a voice, made its opinion of the shop known in October, releasing a statement which began, "We would like to send a huge f*ck you to The Battered Wife Fish & Chip shop in Innisfall, Queensland."
"In a year where we have lost 67 women and 18 kids to murder and manslaughter, and while hundreds of thousands of women are being 'battered' by their partners across the country, these clowns thought it appropriate to make a joke out of domestic violence. There is nothing funny about domestic violence or violence against women. Please boycott this business - it does not deserve your money."
To promote her message, Kerr wrote the following message on her shop:
The backslash was so extreme that a politician even offered up his opinion on the shop's name and the connotations which it could inspire in survivors of domestic abuse's minds.
"That business is completely out of step with what [the] community's expectations are," Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said in an interview with news.com.au.
"We're talking about respect, we are talking about changing culture. There's nothing funny about a statement like that."
And while some people have voiced their concerns about the shop's name by explaining why they find it problematic, others have simply used the offense it's caused to, ironically, threaten Kerr with violence.
"They threatened to throw bricks through my window," she said in the video above as she announced the shop's closure.
However, despite putting the shop up for sale, it appears that the small business owner has chosen to continue operating the store and has been posting photographs of special offers, like the one pictured below, over the past few days.
Now, although there is no doubt that Kerr's decision to name her shop The Battered Wife was ill-conceived, to say the least, we would like to hope that with a suitable pun-derful name change, she can continue to operate her business. Her intentions were, after all, good.