In the framework of the Postgraduate Program "Applications of Psychology in Health", at the Tellogleio Foundation of Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), Joanna Paliospirou received an award.
"It is a great honour and pleasure for me to be here today, but also an recognition," said the woman who, two years ago, fell victim to a vitriol attack but became a symbol of bravery and dignity.
"And thank you very much for inviting me to attend and participate in the mental health event, which is a very important issue - and I think we all have it," she added.
Joanna Paliospirou also mentioned that it had never crossed her mind that the whole of Greece would talk about her and that she would receive so much love from the people that would make her an example to be imitated.
"I did what I did, trying to survive and get back on my feet. But for me it is a great satisfaction, that through all this very ugliness, something beautiful has come out for many people," she noted.
When asked where he got the energy from, she replied: "I think this is a bit complex. That is, the strength definitely came from my character and from my soul I believe."
"But I got strength from both my family and the doctors. I have received incredible support, a lot of support from around the world.
"Always in difficult times I think and try and say, that I cannot go back and disappoint all these people that supported me.
"So I have to look strong, I have to try and all that is a motivation for me."
37-year-old Efi Kakarantzoula was sentenced to 15 years in prison in October 2021 for the attempted murder of Joanna Paliospirou with acid in the Athens suburb of Kallithea in May 2020.
At the time, prosecutor Charalambos Mastrantonakis said the attacker executed her criminal plan “in a calculated manner. She had vile motives, murderous egoism and moral pettiness.”
He stressed that the type of acid that Kakarantzoula used and the way she executed her crime “leaves no doubt about her murderous intent.”
“The defendant did not want to ruin the face of Joanna [the victim], she ruined her life,” Mastrantonakis continued.
“When she threw the acid in her face, she accepted that it could be inhaled, swallowed, find its way to her trachea, and kill her,” he said, adding: “it was revenge that accepted the risk of death.”
Kakarantzoula claimed during the trial that she had no intent of killing Paliospirou.
She explained that stalked Paliospirou after suspecting her of dating a man with whom she had embarked on a sexual relationship in 2018.
She admitted to going to significant lengths to procure vitriol to the survivor’s place of work in an office building, saying she paid a man she met outside a shop in downtown Athens to get it for her.