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J Sym & San Therapy > Volume 14(3); 2023 > Article
Journal of Symbols & Sandplay Therapy 2023;14(3): 213-225.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12964/jsst.23013
A psychological and legal analysis of the figurines in the sand picture of a 12-year-old girl induced into a “marriage” with a man in his late 40’s
Rachael Kemigisha1, Juliet Tushemereirwe2, Rob McDonnell3, Ian Mc Cabe4
1Lead author, Psychologists in Primary Schools (Ireland)
2Co-author, Jung Institute for Free Analysis for Children & Adolescents
3Co-author, Jung Institute for Free Analysis for Children & Adolescents
4Corresponding author, Jung Institute for Free Analysis for Children & Adolescents
Correspondence :  Ian Mc Cabe ,Email: jamesianmccabe@gmail.com
Received: September 28, 2023  Revised: December 15, 2023   Accepted: December 26, 2023
This article seeks to explore the symbolism of Sandplay figurines in relation to a 12-year-old girl who was induced into a child “marriage” with a man in his late forties. By analysing the Sandplay figurines, this article aims to shed light on the psychological and physical impact of child “marriage” on the child. The narrative expressed through the placement of figurines emphasizes the vulnerability and loss of childhood felt by the child, while also highlighting the involvement of archetypal key figures such as the stepmother, father, step sisters, close relatives and neighbours in the arrangement and the cajoling of the child into “marriage”. These archetypal figures tap into the collective unconscious and are represented in fairytales such as Cinderella and in the opera Madame Butterfly. The role of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which all African countries have ratified, will be considered. While the UNCRC does not specifically refer to Child “Marriage”, some of the articles can be used to condemn Child “Marriage” and protect child victims from what is a paedophiliac practice. In contrast, the African Convention on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), article 21(2), explicitly refers to child marriage, deems it to be illegal and makes several recommendations on how governments can protect and support child victims of this practice.
KeyWords: Childhood loss, Sandplay, “marriage”, symbolic representation, human rights, paedophilia, UNCRC, ACRWC
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