I'll grant a few points as said so far. Yes the song has a rape in it, yes most traditional music was written by men because women were not allowed to show such intellegence and creativity, and yes a good protion of characters in songs are not of the highest moral character.
As I was growing up, "Coward" was one of my favorite songs. I was too young to realize it was about rape. To me it was about being okay turning the other cheek to people and not having to fight to be right. That's a message really lost these days. I do realize that Tommy had to throw down at one point.. but it was only after really considering what had happened, and not choosing violance in an act of rage, but as a descsion that he had not other choices. I don't me to belittle the tragedy of the rape, only that it should take something tragic for a man to resort to a fight.
To many people these days see a fist or a gun as the solution. Tommy was raised differently, and acknowledged that only under dire circumstances is that needed. With all of the school shootings in the US this year, where is that message?
Rob O HS teacher