This isn’t about getting back at my dad. It’s a much bigger conversation
I believe we should all have zero tolerance about abuse of women. I have been working hard to bring about that awareness. I see hundreds of people each week while spreading my message. Sometimes I get asked questions about my particular experience with domestic abuse. Here I am answering those questions.
1. Why are you saying Mike Rinder, your father, is an abuser?
I watched him violently attack my mom, Cathy, in 2010. It happened right in front of me and was horrific. He shredded her arm and shoulder to the point where she needed surgery and will never regain the full use of her arm. The damage included nerve damage, a dislocated and cracked shoulder and a severe gash to her arm that left her scarred for life.
2. How badly was she hurt?
Here is what the professionals said:
In 2015, five years after the attack, her orthopedic surgeon wrote that "Cathy’s shoulder did not recover and it was evident there could be nerve damage." He also wrote that my mom "was unsuccessful in improving with physical therapy."
Her physical therapist wrote that same year that the injury inflicted by my father "had not healed and was still causing extreme and debilitating pain." He also wrote that my mom “had extremely limited use of her arm,” that she is “in constant pain,” that her right arm movement is limited and that it “does not function normally.”
I see it every day in the pain my mom suffers. I must help her with the most basic tasks we all take for granted. It breaks my heart because my mom is such a kind soul and doesn’t deserve to have to live like this for the rest of her life.
3. Did your father ever apologize to your mother for what he did?
No. It was the opposite. Like many abusers, he instead blames the victim, my mother. From the moment it happened all he cared about was conning everyone, from the police to the media, to make it sound like it was her fault and that her injuries—the same ones her doctors and physical therapists spent countless hours treating and the ones I see her live with each day—were “incidental.” He made it sound like it was just a scratch, and tried to get everyone to swallow his version hook, line and sinker. At no time did he ever even ask if my mom was OK, or express any concern for the woman he was married to for more than 30 years. It was all about selling his version of what happened, because he knew he was guilty. It continues to this day. He knows he has something to hide.
If you read about pathological liars and people who commit domestic violence, that fits the pattern exactly. During the time I’ve been doing this campaign, I’ve met so many women who have witnessed the exact same thing with the men who committed domestic violence in their families. The last thing they want to do is admit what they did. They are in denial. In the past, they often got away with it. But it’s 2018 and we won’t let domestic violence be swept under the rug—and especially not let it be rewarded by big corporations like A&E and Disney.
4. Why are you doing this campaign?
There is never ever an excuse to abuse a woman. Period. My mom is my hero and deserves justice. I won’t rest until she gets it.
5. What do you think about your father, Mike Rinder?
A man who abuses a woman in any way cannot be considered a good person.
He also abused my brother and me growing up by body shaming me, teasing us, harassing us, being mean and demeaning. Anyone who puts down their children their whole lives is not worthy of being called a father.
At the time he attacked my mom he had refused to come to the aid of my brother who was diagnosed with cancer and, at that point, given a year to live. (Fortunately, he survived and is leading a great life today.) But that’s who he is. When I was in a major car accident when I was 8, he never came to visit me. When my baby sister died, he never comforted my mom. He’s cold and uncaring even though he puts on an act for the TV cameras by shedding fake tears.
6. Why are you speaking out about this now?
I finally decided enough was enough when the awareness about the abuse of women came to the forefront in the past year. These movements (such as Time’s Up and #MeToo) and the many women speaking out against violence gave me courage to finally tell my story as it should be told. I realized that I could not let this abusive man continue to be paid and rewarded by Disney and A&E. It’s not fair to women who are abused like my mom and so many others that the men who abuse them are not held accountable. What he did to my mother and the abuse I received my whole life will now be heard and not brushed under the carpet.
7. Is your mom still married to him?
No. Absolutely not. No woman should ever be married to a man who hurts women.
He left my mother, my brother and me with no notice whatsoever. Just took off and left. He was such a coward he couldn’t even tell my mom to her face. He sent an email to someone else asking them to tell her—after more than 30 years of marriage. What kind of man does that? But because he thinks he’s a big shot celebrity on a lame reality show, he had to come up with a lie that we disconnected from him. The truth is it was the other way around—he is the one who took off and left us. The man is a pathological liar. He lies about leaving my mom just like he lies about assaulting her.
8. Why are Disney and A&E paying Mike Rinder?
It’s mind boggling. Maybe they never considered his background, or read my mom’s medical reports to see the extent of the injuries he inflicted. Maybe they didn’t take domestic violence as seriously as they do now that #MeToo has put so much pressure on Hollywood studios.
Or maybe they have fallen for his con. He is a master manipulator and a pathological liar surrounded by a supporting cast of henchmen he now has attacking me and my mom, who is one of the sweetest and most down-to-earth people you could ever meet. Whatever the reason, Disney and A&E need to do the right thing now and cut him loose.
9. Why does Leah Remini defend him?
I am not sure. Possibly she believes his lies. Possibly she doesn’t care because she’s using him as a stooge for her show. If that’s the case, then she doesn’t care that he abused my mother and violently damaged her for life—or that he was violent with other women. Or that as a father he was abusive to my brother and me. Maybe she’s just in it for the money and has cast him in the role of her sidekick. If that’s the case, then it’s proof she has no integrity. In the end it will come back to haunt her. I can guarantee that. Everyone who gets involved with my father ends up regretting it.
10. Don’t you think you should just forgive him because he is your dad?
You can’t forgive someone who shows no remorse whatsoever. My father has an extensive list of things to apologize for, and apologizing for anything is not in his nature. He will never admit he physically hurt my mother and that he was dead wrong in assaulting his wife of more than 30 years. Until he does, there is nothing to talk about.
This is not about me. Men who abuse women, especially someone who abuses the mother of his children, is not going to be allowed to get away with it. And they cannot be allowed to be supported by companies like A&E and Disney.
11. What else has your father done that you consider abuse of your family?
It’s a long list. He tried to kill his own brother as a child. He was indifferent when my sister died. He was not there for my brother when he was fighting for his life with aggressive cancer. He never wanted to have children and when I was hit by a car, he was never there in the months I spent recovering in the hospital. He broke the heart of my beloved grandmother—his mother—in her final years. That is the short list.
12. Why do you think he lies?
The usual reasons—money and attention. He likes the paycheck he’s making from A&E and Disney. He likes being on TV. It makes him feel important. What he doesn’t get is that it’s all going to go away one of these days. From what I understand the show isn’t doing well. In a few years nobody will know or care who he is. He’ll just be another liar who abused his family.
13. Is your family close today without your father?
Our family is incredibly close. We are a loving family. We are doing great without him. My father was always aloof and distant. He decided to leave us, not the other way around as he claims. I have a great, loving mother who is my role model. She has all the character my father lacks.