Aly Raisman on Women Athletes Banding Together to Fight Sexual Assault: 'It's Our Time'

Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez spoke candidly about sexual assault during a recent trip to New York

2017 AAU James E. Sullivan Award Finalists Visit The Empire State Building
Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty

Aly Raisman has spoken out about fighting sexual assault, and the Olympic gymnast says she’s happy to have some of the world’s greatest athletes right by her side.

“It’s a big time for female athletes in the world right now,” she told PEOPLE during a recent trip to New York. “It’s our time to shine … I think there will be a lot of change and a lot of women have started standing together.”

She added: “I’m looking forward to the future and how we can make it better place for women.”

2017 AAU James E. Sullivan Award Finalists Visit The Empire State Building
Robin Marchant/Getty Images

The 22-year-old’s comments comes as USA Gymnastics faces a headline-making sexual abuse scandal. Former team doctor Larry Nassar is accused of sexually abusing about 100 women (he has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing).

“I think right now there is an investigation going on with USAG, so I can’t talk about it that much because I have to respect the investigation,” she said.

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“I can’t comment any further, but it’s very important and it needs to be addressed.”

Fellow Final Five member Laurie Hernandez praised Raisman for speaking out about abuse.

“I absolutely respect Aly for coming forward and talking about sexual assault,” Hernandez, 16, told PEOPLE.

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“I respect anyone who is able to do that and go out and have a voice and speak up for themselves and speak up for anything that might be going wrong with their lives.”

Raisman is a fierce advocate of women’s rights. She recently teamed up with Playtex Sport to take away the stigma surrounding women and their periods — and to encourage young girls to continue on in sports after they begin their periods.

“I work out a lot with little girls, so sometimes they’ll run and [say to] me, ‘I just got my period!’ ” she previously told PEOPLE.

“I like to think I’m not awkward about it, so I think that they can come to me … I get what they’re going through so I like to be that person for them.”

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