Broken Family in Omaha

Mikaella Manjares  and Shota Nakaya

     This research focuses on families facing divorce especially those dealing with domestic violence, parenting after divorce, and race and class differences in families facing these issues. In Omaha, there are certain issues that need to be addressed. Talking about all these concerns and finding solutions can lessen the worries of people in the community. Interacting with the community has a large positive impact on society. 


     The studies found the articles through Access World News to All Databases named NewsBank, Inc. which is Omaha World Herald Archives. In total, 10 articles are used in this project. The process of this project are writing an orientating memo, coming up with the themes and selecting them, and coding the data to construct a table. Then, the table such as table data for annotated bibliography and a table organizing data for Omaha articles are created. The timeline of these articles are 2013 through 2019.


     Children who suffer from domestic violence may experience a range of emotional and psychological trauma. The article, Ex-Omahan Who Saw Dad Beat Mom Wants Other Victims To Know…, stated that “Former Omahan Renesia Martin, 45, …She says she needed years of therapy as an adult to deal with the fallout from seeing her dad beat her mother.” Witnessing abused from home for children are very scary and it has long term effects through their adulthood. Abuse of children is not isolated to specific cultural or socio-economic groups although abuse is often associated with high mobility, a lack of parental education, loneliness, poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing or social isolation. Based on, Nikko Jenkins’ Extended Family Has Wreaked Havoc On Omaha For Generations, explains that “Public records and interviews with the family, acquaintances, law enforcement officials and academic experts paint the portrait of a family that has deteriorated through escalating violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse and child neglect. Authorities have removed at least 20 children from various Levering family homes. Abused and neglected children are more likely than other children to be self-destructive or aggressive, to abuse drugs or alcohol, or become young offenders.” The Levering family grew up in such a violent lifestyle and it leads them to make bad choices in life. Taking away those children are the best option to protect their safety and also not to be exposed in such a heinous environment. Again according to Nikko Jenkins’ Extended Family… the staff writer said,Many families struggle with poverty without resorting to criminal activity. The Leverings are an extreme example of how poverty, combined with substance abuse and bad choices, can create problems for the whole community.”

     Variety Of Abuse/Violence

    Domestic abuse can come in many forms such as physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual. As stated in, Choking, Threats, Destroyed Belongings…, point out that “For as long as she could remember, Amanda Bohm says, her father had verbally and physically abused her mother.” One example in this article was physical abuse which lead to a serious injury. “Franks-Bohm remains in a medically induced coma as doctors treat the third-degree burns on more than 60 percent of her body, which is swollen and wrapped in bandages. Amanda suffered second-degree burns and was released two days after the fire occurred.” This shows how severe the abuse really are and how physical abuse affect a person. Relating to Nikko Jenkins’ Extended Family Has Wreaked Havoc On Omaha For Generations, reveal that “The Levering family has struggled through generations of poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, child neglect and crime.” “Earlier generations bounced in and out of prison, sometimes for violent crimes. But they were never charged with murder in Omaha — until Jimmy. Now Nikko Jenkins and two other relatives are facing murder charges connected to four Omaha deaths in August. In all, six Levering family members are charged with 30 crimes in connection with that killing spree..” This illustrates how abuse and violence are connected to one another and how it can break family apart due to this type of circumstances.

     Court System 

    Nebraska Douglas County has domestic abuse protection orders, harassment protection orders and sexual assault protection orders. As reported by Alia Conley on article Court Petitions… “Frank’s and Lesley’s denied protection orders were two of 929 applications that were outright denied in Douglas County in 2018… according to the Women’s Fund, which obtained the information from the Nebraska court system.” Continuing that statement, “ She said she hopes victims can receive better treatment, as her experiences when filing her forms at the courthouse weren’t the best.” Another article that provides more information about this issue is Choking, Threats, Destroyed Belongings… by Alia Conley. It presents that “ In their opposition testimony, Nebraska Bar Association officials said they want senators to be mindful that requiring hearings within 14 days of an application would add court time to judges’ dockets and be tricky in rural areas where judges serve multiple counties.” Tying in to that explanation, “According to Nebraska law, a domestic abuse protection order must be between family members and should show attempts to cause bodily injury with or without a dangerous instrument or placing, by means of credible threat, another person in fear of bodily injury.”


Parenting After Divorce 


    Co-parenting after divorce effects emotional impact to the parents since the time when they are separated by visiting another parent with distance, they have emotional feelings. In the article, Omaha Mom by Angela Dunne, as any parent who has been away from their children on a business trip or an adult vacation has experienced, you miss your kids. You look forward to seeing them again. You cannot wait to hug them. Co-parenting after divorce experiences these feelings toward their kids weekly. As a result, they feel more appreciated for their children and notice how important they are for the family more than before, but missing them weekly would be tough for parents. 


    Co-parenting after divorce is difficult mentally for both parents and children, but they also have financial issues usually. According to the article, Omaha Mom by Angela Dunne, During co-parenting after divorce time, they are 100 percent in charge and responsible for all things parenting, including new challenges and issues. Thus, both mother and father need every equipment individually for their children. They might share those together in a home before divorce, but each of them needs one. However, everyone does not have them, especially gender opposite sex necessities. Additionally, it is not easy to find a new job right after divorce especially for one who did not used to work before then, even though they need more expenses for children. 

Race and Class: 

    The possibility of finding information about race and class in Omaha World Herald are very minimal especially about families. It seems like people are not shedding enough light about these topics. Omaha has a great deal of residential segregation and racial tension. Race in general are very sensitive issue to talk about, maybe to some people, but the importance of diving into this issue is to understand the impact it has on society. In the analysis, race and class was talked about and there are information gathered from this section in particular.


     Collecting data about domestic abuse are very eye opening because it explains the traumatic effects it has on people’s lives, especially children. This specific article talks about domestic abuse and divorce. As stated by Julian Barr in To Love and to Cherish… article, “Domestic violence is the abuse of a party in a married or intimate relationship with the other, and in most cases, it is the woman who receives the abuse. In almost all cases being in a situation of domestic violence means you should get out, even if that means a divorce.” Following that statement, “An individual may be hesitant to get out of an abusive marriage if there are children, but studies have shown the long-term effects of being around domestic violence can be detrimental to the child.” It is time to speak up and fight for women’s right because if women keep quiet then nothing is going to change. The abuse will repeat and divorce is an option to cut ties from the abuser. It is best to divorce an abusive husband for your children. You do not have to pretend to be in “happy” marriage or a complete family.  The next article, Till Disinterest Do Us Part… by William Kuby addresses that “ The history of American views regarding public policy and trial marriages. Government policy on marriage, the social implications of divorce, and the status of women, both married and single…” and also “…Alleging that Stanislaw had physically abused her, Lottie sought escape from a marriage that she now viewed as a youthful mistake. Rejecting Lottie’s request in the early paragraphs of his decision, Edgcomb used the remainder of his ruling to express concern over the deteriorating state of matrimony in the United States and over couples’ growing tendency to abandon unsatisfying marriages.” This explains how the system works and it has some similarities in today’s court system. Basically, the woman was not happy in her marriage and she was getting abused by her husband, so she filed a request and got declined. Her request did not follow through the court and she was helpless about the situation.

     The high divorce rate of the United States and other Westernized countries has been discussed, a divorce is often framed from individualistic perspective as a process negotiated between two individuals. According to an article, Analyzing divorce from cultural and network approaches by Tamara Afifi,  “in some cultures, extended family might view one’s divorce as ‘our divorce,’ which can affect how divorce manifests itself and the ways family members communicate about it”. A primary assumption is that the spouses negotiate what is best for them and their children, seemingly irrespective of extended kin or culture. Tamara Afifi did interviews with 60 Mexican Americans who experienced divorce are combined with the extant literature to illustrate how culture and social networks shape divorce decisions and behaviors. This article describes how people consider about divorce based on their family structure. How the culture and social networks affect their divorce decision. 

    The rise in non marital cohabitation parenthood problematizes the simple difference between married and unmarried mothers. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, it examined how maternal employment varies across family structures, which are married parents, cohabiting unmarried parents, and lone unmarried mothers, in the five years after a birth for mothers living in urban areas in the United States. In the statistics,  few differences in maternal employment patterns by family structure. Cohabiting mothers who later marry have employment trajectories that are like married mothers, whereas married mothers who divorce increase their employment hours. This article has statistics of the employment percentage differences between married, unmarried women, and their father characteristics. According to an article, Marriage, Family Structure and Maternal Employment Trajectories by Christine Percheski, The difference between cohabiting and married mothers in hours of work at 60 months is not driven primarily by differences in labor force participation rates; 62.8 percent of married mothers and 62.7 percent of cohabiting mothers are employed. Most married mothers (80 percent) are still married to the baby’s father, but most cohabiting mothers (77 percent) and lone mothers (64 percent) have experienced at least one family structure change. Christine Percheski stated “Marriage is associated with lower employment levels for women, but married women have greater education and wage rates than unmarried women on average”. These facts describe the correct information of employment rates between marriage and marriage women and how difficult it is to have a high wage job for divorced women. 

     This study explored associations between racism and social class among ethnic minority people in the United States. In Broken Boundaries or Broken Marriage?… by Fu, Vincent Kang, and Nicholas H. Wolfinger. “In 1970, just three years after the Supreme Court decision, surveys showed there were about 900,000 mixed-race couples living in the United States. Three decades later, studies showed a five-fold increase to 4.9 million.” The goal of this article is to examine the received wisdom that mixed-race marriages are more likely to fail than same-race couplings especially for Latino/White intermarriages. Many marriages fail despite high compatibility and skillful communication. Lack of support for the marriage from society in general or from extended family in particular can also tip the scale towards dysfunction and divorce. Applying it to sociological perspective, interracial marriages are also based on the environment, education, income, etc. Many interracial marriage faced racism or looked down upon in some degrees. Since societies are improving quite a bit in every generation, it has the potential to surpass broken boundaries and marriages. In the second article stated that The United States shows striking racial and ethnic differences in marriage patterns. Compared to both white and Hispanic women, black women marry later in life, are less likely to marry at all, and have higher rates of marital instability. Based on, The Growing Racial and Ethnic Divide… by Raley, R.Kelly, et al. “African American women are the least likely to receive response from men of any race and ethnicity in the United States. Census data from 2010 indicate that in the United States 24% of male Black newlyweds marry outside of their race, compared to 9% of female Black newlyweds.” Adding to that “African Americans have suffered disproportionate economic disadvantage, in large part due to the legacy of legal discrimination, which increasingly became an obstacle to marriage. The result has been racial inequalities in marital status in all education groups. African American men suffer from higher rates of incarceration, unemployment, and poor health than do their white counterparts in the United States. These conditions often make their lives unstable, and disqualify them from raising a home effectively, in effect branding them as “unmarriageable.” There is a desire among educated women of all races to marry partners within or above their social and economic class.”


     Looking at all this research,  scholarly journals and Omaha data provided some information about marriage, divorce, and families. It will need some strong research and involves accessing information and analyzing them to find answers to the questions about the topics. The information that is gathered from Omaha are mostly domestic abuse/violence, name changes, parenting after divorce. Relating to all these data, most of the themes include children, variety of abuse/violence, court system, divorce, identity, emotional, and economic. Research explained all of these issues throughout all the findings and the analysis. The community needs more voices to solve these problems and also Omaha organizations needs to be strengthened to help people in need. The organizations that are found and most recommend are Omaha Police department, Heartland Family Service, Omaha, NE Domestic Violence Programs, and  Women’s Center for Advancement. These agencies will be able to help people’s safety and needs.


Appendix A: Resources for Families Struggling with Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Heartland Family Service

Omaha, NE Domestic Violence Programs


Women’s Center for Advancement



Afifi, Tamara D., et al, “Analyzing Divorce From Cultural And Network Approaches.” Journal of Family Studies, vol. 19, no. 3, Dec. 2013, pp. 240–253. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5172/jfs.2013.19.3.240.


Barr, Julian. “To Love And To Cherish: MARITAL VIOLENCE AND DIVORCE IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICA.” Confluence (2150-2633), Fall/Winter 2012 2012, pp. 48–59. EBSCOhost,


Conley, Alia. “Choking, Threats, Destroyed Belongings: Nebraska Women Facing Violence Are Being Denied Protection Orders.” Omaha World-Herald: Web Edition Articles (NE), sec. Plus, 10 Mar. 2019. NewsBank, Accessed 6 June 2019.


Betsie Freeman. “Ex-Omahan Who Saw Dad Beat Mom Wants Other Victims To Know: You can Heal Too.” Omaha World-Herald: Web Edition Articles (NE), sec. News, 9 Oct. 2013. NewsBank, Accessed 6 June 2019.


Conley, Alia. “Court Petition Protection Order Denied, And Without Explanation More Than A Quarter Of Protection Orders Denied In Douglas County; Bill Would Require Hearing.” Omaha World-Herald (NE), Sunrise ed., sec. News, 10 Mar. 2019, p. 1A. NewsBank, Accessed 6 June 2019.


Dunne, Angela. “Omaha mom: How A Divorce Can Lead To Improved Parenting.” Omaha World-Herald: Web Edition Articles (NE), sec. Momaha, 8 May 2017. NewsBank, Accessed 6 June 2019.


Jessica Janssen. “How This Mom Decided What Name To Keep After Divorce And New Marriage.” Omaha World-Herald: Web Edition Articles (NE), sec. Momaha, 15 May 2019. NewsBank, Accessed 6 June 2019.


Kuby, William. “Till Disinterest Do Us Part: Trial Marriage, Public Policy,And The Fear Of Familial Decay In The United States, 1900-1930.” Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 23, no. 3, Sept. 2014, pp. 383–414. EBSCOhost, doi:10.7560/JHS23303.


O’Connor, Michael. “Pope Francis Opens Dialogue On Sex And Morality Vatican Document Says Church Must Help Catholics Bridge ‘Conflict Of Values’ With Society.” Omaha World-Herald (NE), Metro ed., sec. News, 27 June 2014, p. 01A. NewsBank, Accessed 6 June 2019.


Pascale, Jordan. “The State of Marriages and Divorces in Nebraska.”, 14 Feb. 2013,


Percheski, Christine. “Marriage, Family Structure, and Maternal Employment Trajectories.” Social Forces, vol. 96, no. 3, Mar. 2018, pp. 1211–1242. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1093/sf/sox094.


Staff, Editorial. “Editorial: Omaha-Area Groups Do Important Work On Domestic Violence.” Omaha World-Herald: Web Edition Articles (NE), sec. Opinion, 16 Mar. 2018. NewsBank, Accessed 16 June 2019.


Stoddard, Martha. “Married in the U.S., Single In Nebraska Legislators Will Explore What It Means When Same-Sex Marriage Is Recognized Federally, But Banned Locally..” Omaha World-Herald (NE), Iowa;Metro;Nebraska;Sunrise ed., sec. News, 1 Nov. 2013, p. 01A. NewsBank, Accessed 6 June 2019.


Writer, Staff. “Nikko Jenkins’ Extended Family Has Wreaked Havoc On Omaha For Generations.” Omaha World-Herald: Web Edition Articles (NE), sec. News, 15 Dec. 2013. NewsBank, Accessed 6 June 2019.

Pascale, Jordan. “The State of Marriages and Divorces in Nebraska.”, 14 Feb. 2013,


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