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Meet the three women who foiled a man's alleged attempt to date rape his friend

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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A group of women heroically foiled a man's alleged attempt to rape his date last week at a "fancy" restaurant in Santa Monica, California.

The three women say they witnessed the man putting something into his date's drink while she was in the toilet and immediately told the staff at the restaurant they were in, while also heading to the toilet to warn the woman.

Taking to Facebook to tell the story, the three women from California described how the woman was then forced to sit with her date for a further 40 minutes while security reviewed footage from inside the restaurant.

Police were then called to the scene and the man, named as 24-year-old Michael Hsu, was arrested on charges of administering a drug and assault with intent to commit a sex crime.

Michael Hsu, 24, was arrested for attempting to drug his date

Michael Hsu, 24, was arrested on charges of administering a drug and assault with intent to commit a sex crime.

Describing the moment her friend saw the alleged crime being committed,  Sonia Ulrich wrote on the Facebook post, "I was going on about something and saw Monica staring behind and making a funny face. I stopped. 'What's going on?' After a few second she said 'That guy just put something in her drink.'"

"He pulled her glass toward him, kind of awkwardly, then he took out a little black vial. He opened it up and dropped something in. Then he tried to play it cool, like checking his phone and hiding the vial in his hand and then trying to bring it back down slyly," Ulrich noted.

The couple had split a bottle of wine between them and looked to be on their "first or second or third date".

Ulrich decided to act immediately and headed to the bathroom to warn the woman of what they had just witnessed. She told her, "My girlfriend said she saw him put something in your drink and we had to say something. Woman to woman."

The situation then worsened when the shocked woman revealed the man she was on a date with was, in fact, one of her best friends: she had known him for a year and a half and the pair worked together.

It also appeared the man had carefully planned the evening's events, as the woman had no means of getting home without going to his house first, where she had parked her car.

"We asked the girl if she had a ride home. 'My car is at his place. In his building. We came together.' Part of a plan. We were blown away. She was still in shock," Ulrich wrote.

Hsu attempted to drug his friend while they were sharing a bottle of wine

Hsu attempted to drug his friend while they were sharing a bottle of wine

And the man made his intentions clear when his date returned from the bathroom and ordered a sparkling water to drink rather than the tainted wine: the women wrote that they "noticed him several times chinking his glass to hers to get her to drink."

After the man was arrested and the woman was saved from the situation, the three friends thought the evening was over. But they were shocked when other diners in the restaurant came up to thank them and share their own personal stories of experiences with date rape drugs.

"At least 10 stories of being personally affected by someone like this. Something like this. Those were only the ones who knew what went down. I am sure there were tons more stories through out the restaurant and the hotel," Ulrich wrote on her Facebook post.

The post, which was written the morning after the events took place on 26 May, has so far been shared over 118,000 times. The three women shared a comical Charlies' Angels style photo of themselves (below) but wrote, "if it seems like the photo is making light of a heavy situation, it's because we know Facebook prioritises pics AND we needed to get your attention. This is no joking matter." 

They hope their story will help raise awareness of date raping and encourage others to also act if they are in the same situation. Here in the UK, there are no statistics relating to drug-assisted rapes although it is estimated that 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped each year while half a million are sexually assaulted. Like the woman in this story, 90% of people will know their perpetrator.

"Thank you in advance to everyone who sees this and shares this and reminds each other that yes, you SHOULD say something. Even if it's awkward or weird or just uncertain if anything can be done," the women wrote.

"Know that YOU did something. And that it helped."

The three women: Sonia Ulrich, Marla Saltzer and Monica Kenyon

The three women: Sonia Ulrich, Marla Saltzer and Monica Kenyon

If you have been affected by a date rape drug, sexual assault or rape, you can find your nearest sexual assault referral clinic here. You can also seek support from UK-based charity Rape Crisis here or call the national Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre for free on 0808 802 9999 (open from 12 - 2.30pm and 7 - 9.30pm every day of the year)

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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