Katja Rosenberg, 40, from London, said she had felt forgiving soon after the 2006 rape, feeling things must have gone wrong in her attacker’s life.
“You wouldn’t ever do that if you felt happy,” she told BBC Radio 5 live.
Of their meeting last year, she said he was “completely” remorseful and “so focused” on no longer being violent.
Ms Rosenberg’s attacker, who was 16 at the time, was jailed for 14 years after admitting her rape and another of a 51-year-old woman shortly afterwards.
With the support of the Probation Service, she visited him in prison last September.
Partly, this was motivated by a wish to assure him “life’s not hopeless, that he knows he’s got a future”, she said.