PERSONS in a small district in rural St Andrew still recall the story that had tongues wagging for months after it was discovered that a woman they had grown to admire was sleeping with her teenaged son, who some thought had mental issues.
The revelation came to light after the woman became pregnant despite almost totally confining herself to her house, with no male visitors.
"When people found out, the son was about 19, but everybody realised that she was sleeping with him for years," a neighbour, Washington, explained. "Is just she and him live and she didn't allow him to go nowhere. The boy never have no friends at all. In fact, he hardly talked to people. We think him did all crack in him head to how him behave."
He said those who took keen notice, realised that she treated him the way a woman would treat her husband.
"It looks like she was even jealous over him too, 'cause it's a youth that was well built and his body looked good," he said.
He said it was with the pregnancy that people confirmed that the mother was really sleeping with the son.
"We knew then for sure that she was sleeping with her son and it looks like is it help mad the boy," he said. "But people never really do nothing 'cause they were two big people, plus everybody thought they were mad."
Child psychologist Dr Ganesh Shetty said mothers who molest their male children fall into three categories: drug addicts, the mentally challenged, and hypersexuals.
"The situations I have seen of that happening, the profile of the mothers are usually drug addicts who are intoxicated, the mentally retarded, or hypersexuals," he said.
Dr Shetty said a child who has been molested by his mother may experience shame, guilt, depression, have the wrong concept of sexuality, and could even become hyposexual, and may hate women and sex. He said because of the shame involved, the situation may be contained. However, teen boys may be willing participants when the situation does occur.
Psychologist Dr Leahcim Semaj said while the situation does in fact exist, it is less common than that of fathers molesting their daughters.
"It is much more rare," Dr Semaj said. "The issue about the father and the stepfather situation is a much more common situation. There are more factors that mitigate against the mother-son. But the fact is that it does happen," he said.
Dr Semaj said, too, that mothers who engage their sons in sexual activities are those with serious psychological problems.
"Because it's her decision to do that, to engage her son in sexual behaviour. It's more a deep seated psychological problem that she is manifesting why she is doing that."
He pointed, too, towards mothers who may not necessarily have sex with their sons, but view them as love objects.
"There are some mothers who won't necessarily engage their sons in sexual behaviour, but they genuinely believe that no woman will be good enough for their son," he said. "And they do everything to disrupt, disturb and destroy any kind of relationship that the son would engage in. They almost see him as a love object. So those are the forms that that one tends to take on. But it does happen."
But, the psychologist said, while it may not be a common occurrence with the mothers, this type of molestation also manifests itself through caregivers, babysitters and helpers of little boys.
"It does happen that there are older women who are babysitting, who take care of little boys and so on. And many boys in Jamaica are introduced to sex by older women," he explained.
"Now from the standpoint of a boy, people dismiss it as a part of initiation and early socialisation and it does not usually have the same kind of impact on the child as when a male relative betrays a trust. It is more rationalised and accepted so that is one of the reasons why you don't have much of an outcry, even when it goes beyond that exploration," he said. "We hear those stories but we don't treat it for what it is, it's a form of child abuse. And the boys who experienced it look back at it and see it as 'boy mi did wicked man', 'mi did wild'. And more boys have the opportunity to do that than girls, because you wouldn't really leave your little girl with the man next door, but you would leave your son with the woman next door, and you don't know anything about her psychological state," he said.