Olawale Hassan, 33, of Falcon Avenue, Grays, was jailed on Tuesday (6 October) for the attack in Westcliff in February 2017.
Following the sentencing the woman, who is speaking anonymously, has spoken of the support she received.
She said: “My message to everyone who has been a victim of rape is no matter how much you doubt and blame yourself thinking it’s all your fault, please, please call the police as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is for the police to collect as much evidence as they can as a soon as possible after the act itself.
“I can’t put into words how I felt after being raped and getting home other than being extremely scared, traumatised and still in shock and feeling so alone.
“I was really reluctant to phone the police after it happened. I had so many thoughts thinking they wouldn’t believe me, maybe it was all my fault and I got what I deserved because I had danced with him all night and had gotten into that car.
“To this day I still won’t forgive myself for getting in the car.
“I thought no-one would believe me but thank god for my mum’s best friend for encouraging me to phone the police on the day it happened to me.
“By phoning the police on the day I gave them all my clothes and didn’t wash until the next day as they had to send me to SARC (sexual assault referral centre) it was very traumatic but it was through no fault of their own, they are there to help you and collect all the evidence they can.
“They were extremely nice and apologetic but evidence is crucial.
“I can’t thank Essex Police enough for what they have done for me by supporting me and believing me.
“They offered me counselling to try and help me cope and process what had happened to me.
“At the time I felt I just couldn’t talk about it but in the end that made me worse and I feel now it’s become very clear after everything I need to finally open up and talk about it to get my mental health stable again.
“If I hadn’t of got the courage to phone the police that day I honestly don’t know what I would have done with my life and I don’t know where I would be today.
“Even though I had moved away so quickly after what happened to me they kept in touch with me all the time and kept me updated on everything that was happening.
“If they needed anything from me, they were always a phone call away and they would go out of their way to give me the support I needed.
“It was extremely hard to carry on after three and-a-half years of waiting and hoping my case would go to court.
“It was very easy to just bury my head in the sand and drop the case because you think no-one will believe you anyway and nothing will come from it as you keep blaming yourself and maybe you need to move on, but I told myself I had to carry on and trust the police, not just for my own safety but for other women out there to keep them safe and away from this evil and delusional man to stop him from doing it to another innocent woman.
“I will be forever grateful for Essex Police for doing everything in their power to collect as much evidence as they could and getting my case to court.
“Nothing will ever make what happened to me go away, I’m still traumatised by it now.
“But after pushing yourself and finding the strength to carry on and putting trust in the hands of the police when you know what happened to you was wrong no matter how much you blame yourself, there is light at the end of the tunnel and justice can be served and there is a chance of being believed.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I have, but if there is a chance of me helping someone and you have been a victim of rape, my advice is to please phone the police as soon as possible.
“They are there to help you and give you the support, you need please be strong.
“Thank you again to Essex Police.”